Defaced Palestine-Israel mural is blacked out by TfL 

The Shoreditch mural designed by the charity Circle of Toys is now gone. Pic: Karoline Brandslet 

A mural depicting two children holding the flag of Palestine and Israel has been covered with black paint by Transport for London.

Last week, it was revealed that the mural had been stained with graffiti. It was later covered entirely with black paint by Transport for London, which was discovered by Eastlondonlines at the weekend. 

The mural, located on a TfL-owned building in Old Street, Shoreditch, was created by the charity Circle of Toys about two weeks ago.  

It showed two young girls standing side by side; one wearing a headscarf and holding a teddy bear and an Israeli flag, the other carrying a Palestinian flag. Written on it were the slogans “Toys4Peace” and “”. 

The mural was defaced with red spray paint on February 27, and the graffiti read: “Palestinian children killed since 07.09.23 – 11,500. Funded by your taxes. Murder is murder.”

While the date is wrong, it was likely a reference to the number of children killed in Gaza since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out on October 7th last year. 

The mural was designed by the Charity Circle of Toys Pic: BBC 

Founder of the charity, Arthur Corvin Powells, told ELL that they wanted to bring attention to children suffering through all conflicts. However, the mural sparked some controversy.  

In an Instagram post by MintPress News on Wednesday last week, several commenters expressed their disapproval of it. One comment saying: “While one child is starving, the other one’s parents are blocking the food to get to her,” currently has nearly 3000 likes. 

A TfL spokesperson told ELL that they discussed it with the charity who installed the mural, and decided to paint it black “as not to encourage any antisocial behaviour”. The BBC reported that Circle of Toys had painted the mural without TfL’s permission. 

Providing children in need with toys 

The Circle of Toys project was initiated in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the goal of providing children in conflict zones with toys. Thousands of toys have already been sent to Ukrainian children, and the charity said they wanted the same to happen to children affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict.

When asked to comment on the mural being covered up, Powells told ELL that “whatever we can do to shift the attention from ‘politics’ to innocent children in pain is worth it”. 

So far, more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 72,000 wounded in Israeli attacks. The actual number of dead Palestinians is likely to be much higher as the count does not include the thousands of people lost under the rubble of buildings hit by Israeli air strikes or the ones who haven’t received medical assistance. 

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