Lilac Alley murals
Two murals in Lilac Alley near 25th Street which were painted over last week. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Two Murals in Lilac Alley with Palestinian symbols have been painted over by an unknown person, according to social media posts that circulated on Instagram late last week. 

Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

One of the two murals which were painted over featured a Palestinian woman holding up a victory sign, a dove, and the words “Free Palestine” in front of a Palestinian flag-colored background. 

The “Free Palestine ” portion of the mural was painted over with black paint as of Saturday morning.

The second mural vandalized was a painting featuring Handala, a national symbol and personification of Palestinian people. The entire garage door was painted over in white. The artist Aches could not be reached for comment. 

Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Eli Lippert a 32-year-old muralist who grew up in the Mission said he chose to paint “Free Palestine” around two weeks ago because for his entire life and longer, Israel has been pushing out Palestinian people, militraizing the nation and colonizing it. 

As a community member, he thought it was important to uplift the Palestinian struggle. “People try and erase peoples culture even here in San Francisco where they hide behind a liberal type of view. And growing up here you see that shit over and over again.” 

Lippert said that he and a friend painted “everything is in a positive voice and just a message of peace and freedom – it’s not hate towards the other people”

But Lippert said the vandalism did not surprised him.  Such acts of vandalism, he said, has been happening “for decades.”

Chris Gazaleh, a 37-year-old Palestinian-American who has been painting murals in the Bay Area since he was 15, agreed. He said he knows all too well how shitty it feels. He said his artwork has been defaced since 2013 by a group of Zionists.

Chris Gazaleh in front of the mural which was vandalized. He painted the Palestinian woman portion which was not touched. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

Just recently during the pandemic, a mural he painted on 16th and Albion which said “No to the illegal inhumane theft of Palestine” was vandalized over ten times, he said. Each time, he repainted the wall. He said he once caught the man who painted over it on camera, and that it looked like a person in their 60’s. 

“All we’re doing is trying to spread a little solidarity and love for the people that are in need of help and that are being erased from their own countries.” 

But Gazaleh and Lippert say that they will not back down.

“That’s what happened, we just gonna go back and paint a new one, and keep doing it. That’s all we can do.”

This afternoon, they will go back to Lilac alley to repaint the two murals that have been painted over. 

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Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys working at the intersection of art and politics, and focusing on the stories of individuals to reveal larger themes.

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  1. The circumstances that gave rise to Israel, and the Palestinian struggle, are complicated and need to be deeply researched and understood before just jumping in with an opinion. And The People and their Governments are two different entities. There’s a very readable book called “The Israelis” that explains all sides and the beliefs that lead people to their actions there.

  2. Do better, Mission Local.
    “He said his artwork has been defaced since 2013 by a group of Zionists.” Really? That’s like saying a group of “Arabs” vandalized Manny’s. How about we stop vilifying entire groups of people or at the very least have some journalistic integrity and start calling out facts in the face of speculation.

  3. This reminded me of another mural that kept getting defaced and was ultimately covered up semi-permanently on the 21st street exterior of Mikes Groceries & Liquore at Mission & 21st. My memory might be a bit foggy, but wasn’t there a pro-Palestinian mural on that building that was walled up in the 1990’s? You can see the wall in google images going back to 2007 ( but I can’t find anything online about it.

  4. Thank you Clara-Sophia for this important piece on the defacement of murals and the political agenda behind it. Bravo to the artists who know the power of their craft and messaging. Art is life!!!