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Booking.com signals it won't remove settlement rental listings

Booking.com signals it won't remove settlement rental listings

Global home accommodation company Airbnb today announced that it has made a decision to remove all its listings on West Bank settlements.

The accommodation bookings website announced on Monday that around 200 listings would be taken down in what will be seen as a victory for the Palestinian-led anti-occupation movement.

The Israeli newspaper also reported that Erdan said he plans to ask officials in the United States to check if the US-based company's decision violated anti-boycott laws that exist in more than 25 states across the country.

The US-based rights group lamented that listings in West Bank settlements can not be rented out by Palestinian ID holders, representing the "only example in the world the organisations found in which Airbnb hosts have no choice but to discriminate against guests based on national or ethnic origin".

Airbnb's announcement preceded the publication Tuesday of a critical report by New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

He said Israel would respond by backing lawsuits by settlement listers against Airbnb in USA courts. It was not clear what this would mean.

Most of the world considers the settlements, built on land Israel captured in the 1967 war, to be a violation of worldwide law.

Both Israel and Palestine make historical claims to the West Bank.

Palestine Legal, a Palestinian rights group that monitors US anti-boycott legislation, said on its website that some of the laws enacted at USA state level apply both to Israel and "territories controlled by Israel", an allusion to areas such as the West Bank.




The Yesha Council of settlements said in response that "a company that has no qualms about renting apartments in dictatorships around the world and in places that have no relationship with human rights is singling out Israel".

"The rental properties listed by Airbnb and Booking.com in the settlements are available to guests under conditions of discrimination", the report says.

"It is thanks to the hard work of activists in this coalition and around the world that Airbnb will no longer be profiting from Israeli apartheid in the West Bank", Ariel Gold, national co-director of the anti-war group Codepink, told the Sputnik News Agency.

"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".

"Such businesses depend on and contribute to Israel's unlawful confiscation of Palestinian land and other resources, and facilitate the functioning and growth of settlements".

Waleed Assraf, head of a Palestinian anti-settlement group run by the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, welcomed Airbnb's decision.

Critics of the move pointed out that Airbnb maintains listings in other disputed territories including Turkish-occupied north Cyprus, the Moroccan-occupied Sahara, and Tibet.

Around half a million Israelis live in Judea and Samaria, alongside Arab communities governed by the Palestinian Authority.

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