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Airbnb deletes lists in Israeli settlements

The home rental company, Airbnb, announced on Monday that it would remove its lists in Israeli settlements in the West…

The home rental company, Airbnb, announced on Monday that it would remove its lists in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and cause outrage from Israeli officials.

The company said it will bring down about 200 lists and cease operations in Israeli settlements “which is the core of the dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” It was not immediately clear when the removal would come into force.

In reply, Strategic Minister Gilad Erdan, who oversees Israel’s struggle against a Palestinian led boycott movement, urged Airbnb hosts to be affected by the decision to bring proceedings in accordance with Israel’s anti-boycott law.

“National conflicts exist all over the world,” said Erdan. “The management of Airbnb must explain why they specifically and uniquely chose to implement this political and discriminatory decision regarding citizens of the state of Israel.”

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin made the decision and ordered his office to limit the company’s operations across the country. He also instructed the ministry to ramp up its tourism programs in West Bank settlements.

The company had previously defended its former activities on the Occupied West Bank, saying that they were in line with US law and its own mission “to gather people in as many places as possible around the world.”

Airbnb said that the decision to interrupting the contested lists came after consultation with experts and wrestling with the ethics of doing business in Israeli settlements, which most of the international community considers illegal. Palestinians and human rights groups have long pressed the company to remove the lists.

Human Rights Watch said that the decision was reached until a 65-page report was published investigating tourist rentals in settlements, including by Airbnb. [1

9659002] Arvind Ganesan, Head of the Group’s Business and Human Rights Division, called Airbnb’s Movement “an important recognition that such lists can not quarrel with their human rights responsibilities.” He called on other companies to follow.

Eugene Kontorovich, an international lawyer expert, accused Airbnb antisemitism and collaborated with the Palestinian led BDS movement, which calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli companies.

Kontorovich, who has helped the United States and Israel to draft anti-subsidy legislation, said that the company had appointed Israel while attributing properties to other occupied or contested areas of the world, such as northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh and Western Sahara.

“Airbnb’s approach to rule out Jews from all disputes in the world will violate US BDS laws and principles of discrimination,” says Kontorovich, International Law Director at Kohelet Policy Forum, a conservative thinking tank in Jerusalem and Professor of International Law at George Mason University.

Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war in the Middle East. Today, more than 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, except about 200,000 Israelis in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim both areas as part of a future state, a position that has strong global support.

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