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Two years after +972 investigation, Airbnb to pull listings in West Bank settlements

Two years after +972 exposed Airbnb’s operations in West Bank settlements, the company has announced it will be pulling all settlement listings from its site.

By Edo Konrad and Yael Marom

A photo from the AirBnB listing in Havat Gilad (Screenshot)

A photo from the AirBnB listing in the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad (Screenshot)

Airbnb announced that it would pull listings from settlements in the occupied West Bank on Monday evening. The decision comes two years after +972 and Local Call revealed that the San Francisco-based vacation rentals company included apartments, cottages, and caravans located on West Bank hilltops, while making no mention of the fact that they are in settlements on occupied land.

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law.

Among the vacation properties available for rent on the site are a number in settlement outposts considered illegal even under Israeli law, some of which are situated on stolen, privately-owned Palestinian land. The 2016 investigation also found that many property owners were discriminating by refusing to rent to prospective Arab guests, which violates company policy.

In the weeks and months following the publication of the investigation and the attention it garnered in the international media, activist groups and human rights organizations targeted the company with an international campaign, #StolenHomes. The campaign, which gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures, demanded Airbnb stop profiting off the settlements and the occupation.

A statement on Airbnb’s website said: “We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” The company has yet to announce just when the listings will be taken down. At the time of publishing, one can still find units for rent all across the West Bank.

Following the announcement, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin ordered his ministry to take steps to restrict Airbnb’s operations across the country, while Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said Airbnb hosts harmed by the decision should file lawsuits against the company in accordance with Israel’s anti-boycott law.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      Ha’aretz editorial on the AirBnB situation (the video is priceless):

      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-airbnb-s-ban-on-west-bank-is-big-win-for-bds-not-necessarily-for-anti-semites-1.6674447

      Needless to say, the Israeli government’s reaction is all out of proportion. Threatening lawsuits and other, unspecified harm to Airbnb’s business elsewhere in Israel will hurt Israeli renters and the tourism industry more than it will punish the company. But it’s always been the case with this government, that it is ready to pursue the narrowest interests of the settlers, no matter the cost it imposes on the rest of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    2. rafa

      Congrats to airbnb. How many cos. [esp US] also have balls?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Peter

      So…. Israel’s Likudnik government believes it should be illegal NOT to violate international law.
      Quelle Surprise!

      Reply to Comment
    4. My congratulations to The 972 journalist-s who researched and released the report. As I know them such work is in the best traditions and purpose of Journalism. The action following the report, is a real step forward to the liberation of Muslim, Christian and Jew. This is hope one may actually depend on.

      That some will not understand it so would be merely pitiable if so many were not suffering. Political Zionism is anti-Semitic. It has to go.

      Reply to Comment