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Yamen Elabed - Profile

Yemen Elabed with a graffiti of charlie chaplin on the wallYamen Elabed has been guiding for Green Olive Tours since 2007 and became a full Partner of the Green Olive Collective in 2009. In addition to guiding, Yamen helps develop and improve tours, trains and manages the organisation’s West Bank tour guides. His work in the tourism sector grew out of his interest in Bansky Graffiti, which formed the basis for his early tour guiding experience.

Yamen has studied history and tourism at the Tourism Research Institute-Palestine and has been very involved with AIC (Alternative Information Center), a political activist organisation with offices in Beit Sahour and Jerusalem.

the wall graffiti shop - BethlehemIn 2010, Yamen opened “Banksy Shop” to support his extended family, and together with his father built a local institution that services tourists with interesting souvenirs, free coffee, wifi, and paint to spray slogans on the adjacent Separation Wall. The shop was renamed ‘Wall Graffiti Shop’ in 2017. and is located right next to the Walled Off Hotel. He also founded the Gift4Giving Program which collects funds to purchase toys and clothes for distribution to children living in refugee camps in Bethlehem.

Yamen with a group in the judean desert
Yamen was born and raised in Beit Sahour in Bethlehem, his family originally comes from Sara’a.  Sar'a, was a Palestinian Arab village located 25 km west of Jerusalem, depopulated in the 1948 war. Shortly after the village was destroyed, Kibbutz Tzora was built on the lands and remains of the village. His grandparents fled the village in 1948 and settled in Dheisheh refugee camp for 10 years, then they decided to move to Beit Sahour. Beit Sahour is a Palestinian town east of Bethlehem under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority. With a population of roughly 12,500, 80% of the population are Christian (most of them Greek Orthodox) and the remaining 20% are Muslim.

In 2001 at the climax of the Second Intifada, Yamen had to leave his homeland and live in Canada but eventually he decided to come back in 2006 and make a difference to build a better future in Palestine.

You can contact Yamen on his Facebook page, where he always posts interesting photos of new graffiti in Bethlehem.