AIRBNB has sparked outrage by revealing it is going to remove all homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank from its listings.
The home rental giant made the decision because it believes the settlements are at the “core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”.
The move – which affects around 200 West Bank properties – has been welcomed by Palestinians but Israel has called it ‘shameful’[/caption]
Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war and its settlements there are considered illegal by many world powers.
Palestinians deem the settlements, and the soldiers needed to protect them, as obstacles to their goal of establishing a state.
Israel – which considers the West Bank as the biblical cradle of Judaism -has long disputed the claims.
However, Airbnb said: “We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
Airbnb has previously been criticised by human rights campaigners for allowing listings of homes to rent in Israeli settlements[/caption]
“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 and a clear path forward for everybody to follow.”
The move – which affects around 200 properties – has been welcomed by Palestinians but Israel has called it “shameful.”
Airbnb has previously been criticised by human rights campaigners for allowing listings of homes to rent in Israeli settlements.
Waleed Assraf, head of a Palestinian anti-settlement group run by the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, welcomed Airbnb’s decision.
Should other companies follow suit, he told Reuters, “this will contribute to achieving peace”.
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But Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said the decision was “the most wretched of wretched capitulations to the boycott efforts”.
He said Israel would respond by backing lawsuits by settlement listers against Airbnb in US courts.
The Yesha Council, which represents Israeli settlers, accused Airbnb of becoming “a political site.”
It said the decision was “the result of either anti-Semitism or capitulation to terrorism, or both”.
More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since the 1967 Middle East war.