Israel steps up boycott fight after Airbnb settlement ban


Israelis, the country's advocates, and the government noted in response to the announcement that Airbnb continues to offer listings in a number of other locales that remain in dispute or controlled by dictators.

In a statement on Monday, Airbnb said it was pulling approximately 200 settlement listings, saying: "We must consider the impact we have and act responsibly".

Entitled "Bed-and-Breakfast on Stolen Land", the report says that Israeli settlements' discrimination against Palestinians uniquely violates humanitarian law and Airbnb's nondiscrimination policy.

The company conceded that "people will disagree with this decision".

Airbnb's decision to end its listings in Israeli settlements is an important recognition that such listings can't square with its human rights responsibilities.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin immediately demanded that Airbnb cancel its "discriminatory decision to remove from its site listings in Judea and Samaria".

Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, declined to comment on the officials' statements.

Oded Revivi, mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat and a representative of the umbrella settler council Yesha, said Airbnb's decision was contrary to the company's stated mission of helping "to bring people together in as many places as possible around the world". The United Nations Security Council voted 14-0 in December 2016, with the USA abstaining, to reaffirm previous statements that settlements in these territories are "a flagrant violation under worldwide law", a major obstacle to a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority, and have "no legal validity".

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We believe Airbnb made the correct decision.

One settlement resident, Eliana Passentin, 45, said she had listed her home in Eli, overlooking ancient Shiloh, on Airbnb in the past and had been thinking of doing so again for the Hanukkah holiday in December.

Erdan called on the Airbnb hosts affected to file lawsuits against the company under Israel's anti-boycott law.

"It is thanks to the hard work of activists in this coalition and around the world that Airbnb will no longer be profiting from Israeli apartheid in the West Bank", Ariel Gold, national co-director of the anti-war group Codepink, told the Sputnik News Agency. Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns.

The Palestinian-led movement claims responsibility for pressuring some large companies to stop or alter operations in Israel or the West Bank, including carbonated drink maker SodaStream, French construction company Veolia and worldwide mobile phone giant Orange.

Security Council have said settlements on land captured by Israel are illegal under global law.

Seventeen of the properties are on land Israel acknowledges is privately owned by Palestinians, while 11 are located in wildcat outposts established without Israeli authorization, according to HRW.