The accommodation rental company Airbnb has announced that it is backing off in its decision to remove from its page all the accommodation located in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which has been criticized by the Palestinian authorities.
The company said in a statement on its website that “it has reached agreements after all the lawsuits filed by the hosts, potential hosts and guests,” while revealing all the benefits obtained will be handed over to humanitarian organizations.
“Airbnb will apply this same position for the housing in South Ossetia and Abkhazia – two Georgian separatist regions supported by Russia – two other disputed areas in which the company had previously announced that it would take measures,” he added.
Thus, he stressed that “Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement – Boot, Divestment and Sanctions -” and that “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli companies or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts active on the platform” .
“We have always sought to unite people and we will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal,” he said, before pointing out that “he recognizes that there are many other territories in dispute around the world.”
In response, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, has criticized on Airbnb’s decision on Twitter and has argued that “it demonstrates the complicity of the company with the systematic refusal to the inalienable right of the Palestinians. to self-determination. ”
“They, like other companies doing business with the Israeli settlements, have shown no ethics,” he lamented, before assessing that “their announcement that they will not benefit from their business in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is nothing but a shameful attempt to whitewash their complicity. ”
“In fact, this increases the suffering of the Palestinians that they themselves have recognized as causing by continuing to provide services that benefit the colonial settlement enterprise of Israel, we reject their position outright and we will soon announce measures on the matter,” he said.
The West Bank – including East Jerusalem -, the Gaza Strip – from which Israel withdrew in 2005 – and the Golan Heights were militarily occupied by Israel in the 1967 war, so the construction of settlements and the Colonization of these territories is a war crime from the point of view of International Law.
Some 531,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, according to data from 2012, partly in colonies considered legal by Israel and partly in settlements considered illegal even by the Israeli Government. The current figures could be higher.