Cosy, scenic vacation home heated with Israeli missile attacks on Palestinian schools.
Online marketplace and hospitality service, Airbnb, said it will take down all of its listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The announcement was released one day before the Human Rights Watch (HRW) was dues to publish a report on the company’s business in the settlements, according to to BBC.
In a statement, Airbnb recognised the settlements as the “core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians,” and that, although it is technically legal for them to practice business in the territories, “many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here, because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”
HRW hailed the decision, tweeting a short statement by Arvind Ganesan, their business and human rights director, urging other companies to do the same.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), also celebrated the move saying it is well in line with international law, which bans the settlements, which he referred to as “illegal” and “war-crimes.”
On the other hand, Yariv Levin, Israel’s Tourism Minister called it “the most wretched of wretched capitulations to the boycott efforts,” referencing the Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement against the Israeli occupation, following this by saying that Israel will respond with legal action. The Yesha Council, a representative of Israeli settlers, also denounced what it sees as Airbnb meddling with politics, claiming the move is either anti-Semitic or “capitulation to terrorism, or both.”
Israeli settlements are integral to Israel’s settler-colonialism in occupied Palestine and constitute barriers to Palestinian freedom of movement and right to the land. Around 140 settlements have been built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the war in 1967.
Illustration from Visualizing Palestine
Main Image from Asia Today has been manipulated for this article.