Airbnb to remove West Bank listings

20 November, 2018, 15:08 | Author: Carlos George
  • People gather near the Dome of the Rock at the al Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al Quds on the first day of Eid al Adha

"We reiterate our call upon the UN Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation", he said in a statement.

It remained unclear when Airbnb's settlement listings would come down, however.

At the time, Airbnb did not respond to the criticism, instead issuing a short statement vowing "we follow laws and regulations on where we can do business and investigate concerns raised about specific listings".

Human rights organizations hailed the decision as a positive step by the company.

Airbnb's Monday press release can be found at this link.

Israel says such an argument is a pretext for avoiding direct peace talks, and that the fate of settlements should be negotiated in accordance with peace accords signed with the Palestinians in 1993.

"We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region".

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat lauded the move but complained it does not apply to East Jerusalem, which Israel took control of following its victory in the 1967 Six-Day War.

In addition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Airbnb has in the recent past systematically delisted properties in Russian-occupied Crimea (which has been under dispute between Ukraine and Russia since 2014), Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

Israel's tourism minister criticised Airbnb's move as "shameful and unfortunate".

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"By ending its brokering of rentals in illegal settlements on land off-limits to Palestinians, Airbnb has taken a stand against discrimination and land confiscation and theft", Omar Shakir, HRW's director for Israel and the Palestinian territories, told AFP.

Referring to the West Bank by its biblical names, Levin said he had also instructed his ministry to promote a program to encourage tourism and accommodation in vacation apartments throughout Judea and Samaria.

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and current deputy minister in PM Netanyahu's office, called for a revenge boycott, deeming AirBnB's policy "the very definition of anti-Semitism".

Israel considers the West Bank, the biblical cradle of Judaism, as a security bulwark to the east. Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

"Companies like Booking.com should follow suit", he wrote on Twitter.

"National conflicts exist all over the world", said Erdan, whose duties include combating the BDS movement, for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 states that the building of settlements in Palestinian territory "has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under global law".

The Yesha Council, which represents Israeli settlers, accused Airbnb of becoming "a political site" and said the decision was "the result of either anti-Semitism or capitulation to terrorism, or both".

Greenhow said the Quakers are waiting for the publication of a United Nations report that lists companies involved in settlement-related activity.

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