Airbnb removes all listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Saul Bowman
November 21, 2018

Airbnb said on Monday it will remove from its rental listings settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, prompting Israel to threaten legal action against the USA company.

In addition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Airbnb has in the recent past systematically delisted properties in Russian-occupied Crimea (which has been under dispute between Ukraine and Russia since 2014), Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

The company said settlements were at "the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians".

"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", it added.

"By listing these stolen homes for years, Airbnb directly helped Israeli settlers legitimize their occupation of stolen Palestinian land, contributing to the Israeli government's decades-long policies of occupation, discrimination and dispossession", Wong explained.

As of Monday afternoon, listings within settlements still appear to be up on the site.

It remained unclear when Airbnb's settlement listings would come down, however.

Israeli leaders slammed the decision and called on Airbnb to reverse it.

"This is the right outcome".


Omar Shakir, the head of the Human Rights Watch office in Jerusalem, tweeted that Airbnb's announcement came a day ahead of the release of a joint report on racist rental brokering in illegal Israeli settlements.

That was echoed by Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP said on Twitter.

Airbnb had said it thought long and hard about pulling out of the settlements, because it believed "people-to-people travel has considerable value", but Yachad said: "Building settlements in the occupied territories is not bringing people together".

Tsofiya Jacob has rented out her apartment in the Kfar Adumim settlement using Airbnb for the past year and a half to a regular rotation of European and American tourists.

Almost 600,000 Israeli citizens occupy contested, often ideologically motivated outposts in the West Bank in rapidly expanding settlements, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. Waleed Assraf, who runs an anti-settlement group for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was hopeful other companies would follow Airbnb's example, noting "this will contribute to achieving peace". "Israeli settlements are not just an obstacle to peace but defy the very definition of peace", Erekat said in a statement. "It is not new and we are not bothered by the boycott, this time by Airbnb".

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called Airbnb's move "discriminatory" and ordered his ministry to formulate a retaliatory plan to "limit the company's activities" in Israel, adding that the country would back settlement listers' lawsuits in both Israeli and USA courts.

Airbnb said in a statement that its decision impacts about 200 Airbnb listings.

Kontorovich said Airbnb had been "bullied" by the UN Human Rights Council which, in 2016, mandated the compilation of a blacklist aimed at companies doing business in the West Bank, Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

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