Israelis are "tyrants who stole the land of Palestine" and "hijacked the heavenly Jewish religion"
“In Bethlehem’s Manger Square yesterday, the veil was lifted from the largest oil mural in the world, during a ceremony under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas. The mural was painted by Dr. Jamal Badwan ... who called it ‘Interreligious Tolerance and Peace.’ The size of the mural is 15 by 20 meters, or 310 square meters; and it entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 …Badwan emphasized that Jerusalem, which appears at the center of the painting, symbolizes the resolve of our people and the capital of Palestine – all of Palestine, including its orchards, Acre and its walls, Jaffa and its oranges, and Bethlehem and its [Church of the] Nativity.
He said he had attempted to include precise details pertaining to the Palestinian cause and interreligious tolerance in his mural, and noted that resistance is not [carried out] with rifles alone, but also through art.
In her speech, [PA] Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rola Ma’aya congratulated the artist Badwan, and said: ‘Through his mural, at the center of which is Jerusalem, with its Islamic and Christian holy places, and which sends a message of peace to all the world from Palestine – specifically, from Manger Square and the city of peace – our great artist, Jamal Badwan, wished [to show] that our people is worthy of life…’
Bethlehem District Governor Abd Al-Fattah Hamayel congratulated ‘the artist, Dr. Jamal Badwan, on this political artwork that reflects the [Palestinian] heritage.’
Hamayel said: ‘When you see the painting, some may ask, ‘Where is the synagogue?’ I say explicitly that Palestine is known for its cultural heritage, for brotherhood, and for exemplary coexistence among religions. But these tyrants who stole the land of Palestine, also stole the heavenly Jewish religion, harnessing it in opposition to love and co-existence.
We suffer from the gang that hijacked the heavenly Jewish religion. But Palestine will remain a symbol and an ideal greenhouse [in which to cultivate] brotherhood.’”
Ma'an released the following description of the mural when it was first unveiled in Kiev in 2011:
"Badwan told Al-Jazeera's Arabic-language website that the painting was inspired by Noah's Ark. He painted the earth surrounded by people of all ethnicities, panicking as a huge flood approaches. They are led to safety by a dove through Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and a famous Kiev church."
[Ma'an English website, June 12, 2011]