Global online rental marketplace Airbnb says it will remove its listings in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, in a move that comes after years of pressure from Palestinian and human rights groups.
The decision on Monday will lead to about 200 listings being removed from the popular accommodation website, which allows home-owners to rent out rooms, apartments, and houses to people.
Airbnb will no longer profit from illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Leading Palestinian BDS advocate Omar Barghouthi said the decision is "an important step"–but called for all tourism companies to stop profiting from Israeli settlements. pic.twitter.com/8jPL2XvYVu
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) November 19, 2018
A statement on the Airbnb website said:
“We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The removal of the listings will take place in the coming days, a spokesperson for Airbnb told the Reuters news agency.
The company said it came to the conclusion based on an internal framework used to judge how it handles listings in occupied territories around the world.
— IPSC (@ipsc48) November 19, 2018
The statement said:
“US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”
“Others believe that companies should not withdraw business operations from these areas … We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective. This is a controversial issue.”
Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories, Omar Shakir, said Airbnb’s decision was a “welcome step”.
.@Airbnb ’s decision to leave West Bank settlements is a first step in the right direction to end Airbnb’s profiting from Israel’s theft of indigenous Palestinians’ lands and natural resources. But the campaign continues. #StolenHomes
Read more: https://t.co/B1AqqNpEY2
— BDS Movement (@BDSmovement) November 20, 2018
He wrote on Twitter:
“Companies like Booking.com should follow suit.”
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
The Airbnb listings in the West Bank have long been criticized by the Palestinian community and human rights activists.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)