News

Human Rights Watch slams Airbnb over Israeli settlement decision

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Airbnb has backflipped on its decision to remove listings from homes located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In November, the home sharing giant announced it would delist around 200 settlement homes, as a show of solidarity with Palestinians who want the area for a future state.

As a result, the company was sued in a Jerusalem District Court, where it was accused of “outrageous discrimination”, according to Reuters.

It was also sued separately in two US federal courts, where it was accused of violating US housing discrimination laws.

However, Airbnb said in a statement today that after settling all lawsuits brought by “hosts, and potential hosts and guests who objected to the policy” the company will no longer move forward with the removals.

“We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank, but Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region,” the statement said.

“Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.”

Instead, Airbnb announced it will donate any profits generated for Airbnb by any host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to humanitarian aid.

Israel’s construction of settlements on occupied land has been widely condemned as a violation of international law.

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

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

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