World

Mural of rainbow flag on West Bank separation barrier sparks rare Palestinian debate on gays

  • This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank separation barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The artist, Jarrar, said Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)

    This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank separation barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The artist, Jarrar, said Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • THIS ADDS MORE INFO - A part of the separation barrier is seen repainted after an Palestinian artist painted a rainbow flag in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The artist, Khaled Jarrar, said Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. Palestinian protesters perceived the painting as support for homosexuality, a taboo subject in Palestinian society where gays are not tolerated and rushed to paint it over hours after it was painted. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

    THIS ADDS MORE INFO - A part of the separation barrier is seen repainted after an Palestinian artist painted a rainbow flag in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. The artist, Khaled Jarrar, said Tuesday his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. Palestinian protesters perceived the painting as support for homosexuality, a taboo subject in Palestinian society where gays are not tolerated and rushed to paint it over hours after it was painted. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)  (The Associated Press)

A Palestinian artist whose mural of a rainbow flag on Israel's West Bank separation barrier was whitewashed by anti-gay protesters says his work sparked a rare debate among Palestinians about gay rights.

Khaled Jarrar said Wednesday that he received hundreds of Facebook messages — some threatening but others supportive or curious — since he painted the flag on six barrier cement slabs Monday.

Jarrar, 39, says his art was meant as a reminder that Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, at a time when gay rights are in the news after the U.S. allowed same-sex weddings. But protesters perceived the mural as support for homosexuality, a taboo subject in Palestinian society, and whitewashed it.

The artist says he told his critics that "we can only demand equality if we give it."