Airbnb: We Oppose the BDS Movement

Airbnb: We Oppose the BDS Movement

Airbnb: We Oppose the BDS Movement

Airbnb had faced criticism from Palestinian officials and human rights campaigners for allowing listings of homes to rent in settlements.

The home rental company announced on Tuesday it will back off a plan to remove Jewish settler homes in West Bank, which the United Nations has declared to be illegal under global law, to end lawsuits brought by hosts.

Back in November 2018, the company chose to remove rental listings from homes in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.

Airbnb's announcement came after it was forced to settle in four lawsuits filed against it in the USA and Israel.

In response to the settlement, Airbnb said they will donate profits gained from rentals in Judea and Samaria to "organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world".

The vacation rental company also said it would apply the same policy to the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as evaluating other contested areas around the world.

"The policy Airbnb announced last November was abject discrimination against Jewish users of the website", Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers in the US case, said in a statement.

It further acknowledged the complexities involved in delisting only Jewish settlements, and not those owned by Christians and Muslims, inside the West Bank. Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 war, and the West Bank and Gaza are considered to be the home of a future Palestinian state, should the two-state solution ever come to fruition.

The UN has repeatedly said Israeli settlements on this land are illegal, citing a provision of the Geneva Convention which forbids countries from moving their populations into conquered lands.

"We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank", the statement said.

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Arvind Ganesan, a director at Human Rights Watch, called the company's reversal "disappointing" and suggested its offer to donate profits falls short. Airbnb said it will not take any profits from the listings and would instead donate them to humanitarian causes.

"By continuing to do business in settlements, they remain complicit in the abuses settlements trigger", he added.

Airbnb is rescinding its plan to bar listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Exit polls showed him neck-and-neck with his main challenger, Benny Gantz.

The Delaware lawsuit accused Airbnb of violating USA housing discrimination law by excluding Jewish-owned properties while letting Muslims and Christians continue to use Airbnb to let their accommodation.

The London-based rights group's "Destination: Occupation" report called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities and attractions in settlements in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

However, the company did not mention that settlers will continue to profit from subletting.

Israeli public security minister Gilad Erdan threatened to bar Amnesty from access to the Jewish state over its charge.

"There are many strong views as it relates to lands that have been the subject of historic and intense disputes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank". The movement to boycott Israel saw the decision as a victory.

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