Amnesty: Travel Websites ‘Profiting’ from Illegal Settlements

Illegal Israeli settlement in Jerusalem. (Photo: File)

Digital tourism giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor are profiting from “war crimes” by offering services in illegal Jewish settlements, said a report published on Wednesday.

Amnesty International’s “Destination: Occupation study” called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities, and attractions in settlements in the occupied territories.

The report said:

“They are doing so despite knowing that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is governed by international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal.”

It added:

“In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development, and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law.”

Amnesty accused the firms of “normalizing” settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The report said:

“By listing and promoting these natural features and nature-based activities and attractions, the digital companies are increasing the attractiveness of the listings, securing greater numbers of tourists and ultimately benefiting financially from the illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources.”

Under international law the Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are illegal.

Amnesty launched a campaign in 2017 calling on governments to prevent businesses based in their countries from operating in Jewish settlements.

In November 2018, Airbnb announced it would remove all listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank “that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”.

The move was decried by Israel and praised by advocates of Palestinian rights when it was announced.

Amnesty, however, criticized the fact Airbnb did not extend that decision to East Jerusalem.

On Twitter, Israeli Cabinet Minister Gilad Erdan called the Amnesty statement “an outrageous attempt to distort facts, deny Jewish heritage & delegitimize Israel”.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

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