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Airbnb Pulls Rental Listings of Israel's disputed West Bank

Airbnb will remove all lists of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, an Israeli controlled disputed territory. In response, Israel…

Airbnb will remove all lists of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, an Israeli controlled disputed territory. In response, Israel said that it would act to restrict Airbnb in the country and encouraged relevant hosts to submit court proceedings under Israel’s anti-boycott team. Airbnb’s action affects about 200 hosts.

Airbnb announced on November 19 that it would change its policy of rental housing in occupied territories and distinguish the West Bank. Previously, it had invoked the principle that such rents were legal. In its decision, it said that it developed a framework that investigates security risks for hosts and guests, if lists contribute to “existing human suffering” and if the lists themselves send a political message through its simple existence. Airbnb did not respond to a request for comments from Fortune .

Airbnb’s documents came one day before the planned release of a Human Rights Watch report documenting what the organization describes as “human rights harms #Airbnb activities in settlements,” said the organization on Twitter. Human Rights Watch has previously denied Israel’s building or permits settlements in the West Bank, which the group calls “illegal”.

Israeli, the country’s advocates and the government noted as an answer to the announcement that Airbnb continues to offer lists in a number of other premises that remain in dispute or controlled by dictators. Former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, pointed Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Morrocan-Occupied Sahara, Tibet and Crimea as an example.

Israel maintains control over important parts of the territory seized in 1967 from neighboring Arab nations, including the West Bank, and its occupation has been in conflict since then. The country defends its actions as strategic and necessary. But settlements are a special flash point. UN Security Council voted 14-0 in December 2016, with the United States refusing to confirm previous statements that settlements in these territories are “flagrant violation under international law”, a major obstacle to a two-state solution with the Palestinian Authority, and has “no legal validity “.

Israel’s strategic minister Gilad Erdan said he would work with US officials to determine if Airbnb has violated laws in some US states prohibiting boycots targeting Israel, according to Haaretz . About 25 states have adopted anti-boycott laws. Israel’s press office did not respond to Fortune ‘s request for comment.

It is, however, unclear whether Airbnb’s actions, which only affect some territory as Israel claims and do not concern the UN’s accepted limits, would constitute a form of boycott according to Israeli or US state law. In similar cases, boycots have represented companies, performing artists or others who refuse to do business anywhere in Israel.

The US Congress has been trying this year to produce a federal anti-boycott team to protect Israel, which would impose sanctions on companies who listened to calls from non-US organizations to join boycott. The ACLU has said that the proposal is unconstitutional.

This law would specifically target the Boycott Movement, with a coordinated strategy aimed at applying pressure on Israel to withdraw from occupied territories, including territorial and alleged human rights. 19659010]
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