Airbnb ban on homes in West Bank settlements

Share

"In essence they are helping to broker rentals on land stolen from Palestinians, for which those Palestinians themselves. are barred from entering", Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, tells Estrin. "The senior management of Airbnb will have to explain why they specifically, and uniquely, chose to implement this political and discriminatory decision in the case of citizens of the state of Israel", said Erdan.

A result of pressure over human rights concerns?

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said that he would speak with US officials and find out whether Airbnb has violated American laws against Israeli boycotts.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat, however, said it was "crucial for Airbnb to follow the position of worldwide law that Israel is the occupying power and that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including occupied east Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute war crimes". It said it had previously allowed listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank "because we believe that people-to-people travel has considerable value", adding that it had made the latest decision after weighing the issue over time and speaking to experts.

The settlements are considered illegal under global law as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state, which has proven to be one of the most hard barriers to attempted peace processes.

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.

Israel's tourism minister Yariv Levin urged Airbnb to reverse its decision, which he called "disgraceful and miserable".

He said he had ordered his office to come up with immediate measures to limit the company's activity throughout the country, without elaborating. About 200 listings are affected. He has also instructed his ministry to launch a campaign promoting tourism to Judea and Samaria. She criticized Airbnb's decision.

"We reiterate our call upon the UN Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation".

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

This picture shows a mosque minaret in East Jerusalem (foreground), and the Palestinian city of Jabal al-Baba in the occupied West Bank in the background.

In a 2016 report, HRW found that while the Israeli government is responsible for settlement policies, businesses that choose to locate and expand in the settlements "contribute to Israel's rights violations".

The issue of settlements is one of the most contentious areas of dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

"International companies are interested in doing business with the State of Israel, but are unwilling to accept the continued military control of millions of Palestinians", the group said.

Share