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Airbnb reverses decision on delisting Israeli settlements in West Bank

April 10, 2019 5:06 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2019 12:45 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Home-renting company, Airbnb, confirmed it would not implement a planned delisting of Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, in the occupied West Bank and would “donate proceeds from any of these bookings to international humanitarian aid organizations,” on Tuesday.

In November 2018, the company decided to remove about 200 listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank due to the listings being “at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians."

However, following a resolution of lawsuits brought against it, Airbnb said it "will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform."

Airbnb said in a statement on its website, "Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region.”

The company mentioned, "Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”

Nonetheless, Airbnb did not mention that Israeli settlers will continue to profit from subletting.

While there was no immediate reaction from Israeli or Palestinian officials, Human Rights Watch condemned Airbnb’s decision to reverse the delisting.

Human Rights Watch told Reuters news outlet, “Airbnb’s disappointing decision appears to reverse their stance to fully respect rights.”

It added, “By continuing to do business in settlements, they remain complicit in the abuses settlements trigger.”

Palestinians believed that by contributing to the Israeli settlement economy, Airbnb, like many other companies doing business in the West Bank, helps maintain Israel's settlement enterprise.

According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, in the year and a half since President Trump took office some 14,454 units in the West Bank has been approved, which is more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and half before his inauguration (4,476 units).

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, more than 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

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