The accommodation rental company Airbnb has announced that it backs the measure by removing from its databases the accommodations in the Jewish settlements of the West Bank, considered illegal settlements from the point of view of International Law.
The announcement, collected by the American news portal Axios, is the result of negotiations between Airbnb VP Chris Lenehan and Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. Lenehan headed a delegation of the company that traveled on Monday in secret to Israel.
The measure, announced on November 19, affected 200 apartments and houses for rent in the West Bank colonies and provoked bitter criticism from the Israeli Government and the Zionist organizations in the United States.
Israeli sources have indicated that the negotiations were very difficult and that Levin was hard on Lenehan. The meeting ended without an agreement, but in later telephone calls a text was agreed for the joint declaration, explains Axios.
The statement issued by Airbnb is as follows: “The new policy (relating to settlements) will not be applied, and Airbnb will continue to negotiate on this with the Israeli Government.”
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.