After Airbnb, Booking.com asked to remove West Bank listings

After Airbnb, Booking.com asked to remove West Bank listings

However, Airbnb 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". Many other countries too deem Israeli settlements there as illegal and Palestinian officials, anti-settlement advocates and human rights groups have long advocated for Airbnb to remove such listings.

In a separate develoment, Jacob Magid, the West Bank settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel, told Sputnik that "whatever one thinks of the settlement enterprise, the decision by Airbnb to drop its listings for Israeli homes beyond the Green Line is not likely to have much of an effect".

Our hope is that someday sooner rather than later, a framework is put in place where the entire global community is aligned so there will be a resolution to this historic conflict and a clear path forward for everybody to follow... we continue to hope for a durable, lasting peace.

The Israeli settlements, constructed on land captured during the 1967 war, are illegal under worldwide law, but Israel has long disputed this.

It says Airbnb, based in the United States, listed at least 139 properties in West Bank settlements between March and July.

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under worldwide law.

Israel's tourism minister Yariv Levin called the decision "discriminatory", according to Israeli media, and instructed his ministry to "limit the company's activity throughout the country".

"It is an important and welcome step and we encourage other companies like Booking.com to follow their lead and stop listing in settlements".

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has expressed support for the move.

Palestinian leaders had called on Airbnb to remove the listings in Israeli settlements almost three years ago, saying in a letter to the company that "Airbnb is effectively promoting the illegal colonization of occupied land".

Top Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat welcomed the decision and reiterated his call for the UN Human Rights Council "to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation".

The Yesha Council, the main organisation representing Israeli settlers, accused Airbnb of becoming "a political site".

A statement from the company reads: "US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories". In 2016, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning the settlements as "a flagrant violation under worldwide law and a major obstacle" to peace.

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

That is "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", it said. Human Rights Watch is publishing a report on November 20th that will document Airbnb's "human rights harms" from allowing listings in the settlements.

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