Friends of Al-Aqsa welcomes Airbnb’s move to stop profiting from bookings in illegal settlements in the West Bank, territory taken from the Palestinians. However, we remain concerned that Airbnb will continue to operate in occupied East Jerusalem.
The move came just before Human Rights Watch published a report on the negative effects of Airbnb’s business in the West Bank entitled “Bed and Breakfast On Stolen Land: Tourist Rental Listings in West Bank Settlements”. The report noted that the illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank bars people based on their ethnic and national origin. By doing business in illegal settlements Airbnb were failing to prevent discrimination.
The shift also come after Palestinian rights activists from across the world highlighted and criticised Airbnb’s role in the settlements and the role this has played in normalising illegal settlements and the more than 50 year occupation. However, since Airbnb has not delisted properties in East Jerusalem, Airbnb is failing to fully withdraw from occupied areas.
Ismail Patel, Chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa, stated “this is a step in the right direction from Airbnb and we urge them to fully comply with the principles of international law and delist properties in occupied East Jerusalem. This is a victory for the BDS movement that seeks justice for the Palestinians. We urge Booking.com to follow suit.”