Author: MNI Media | Date: 19 November 2018
International vacation rental company AirBnb have today, Monday, November 19th, released a statement announcing that they will “remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
In a statement released to on their decision AirBnB stated: "There are conflicting views regarding whether companies should be doing business in the occupied territories that are the subject of historical disputes between Israelis and Palestinians.
US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories. At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced. Others believe that companies should not withdraw business operations from these areas."
Some of the international organisations that have been putting pressure on AirBnb includes the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Palestinian Community Network and Human Rights Watch.
AirBnB further stated that; "For us, the question centers on the approximately 200 Airbnb listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and whether they should be available for rent on our platform. We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region. Our team has wrestled with this issue and we have struggled to come up with the right approach.
In the past, we made clear that we would operate in this area as allowed by law. We did this because we believe that people-to-people travel has considerable value and we want to help bring people together in as many places as possible around the world. We also explained that going forward we would ask questions, listen to experts, seek out our community for their thoughts, and continue to learn."
The company went on to mention that; "Since then, we spent considerable time speaking to various experts — including those who have criticized our previous approach — about this matter. As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly. Accordingly, we have developed a framework for evaluating how we should treat listings in occupied territories. When evaluating these types of situations, we will:
Recognize that each situation is unique and requires a case-by-case approach.
Consult with a range of experts and our community of stakeholders.
Assess any potential safety risks for our hosts and guests.
Evaluate whether the existence of listings is contributing to existing human suffering.
Determine whether the existence of listings in the occupied territory has a direct connection to the larger dispute in the region.
Isreali officials have condemned AirBnB's decision.
AirBnB said; "When we applied our decision-making framework, 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.
We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective. This is a controversial issue. There are many strong views as it relates to lands that have been the subject of historic and intense disputes between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Airbnb has deep respect for those views. 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. As of today, this is an aspirational hope. People of goodwill have been seeking this goal for decades but we continue to hope for a durable, lasting peace."