sunny.png
Thursday August 22nd, 2019 12:02PM

Airbnb reverses, will allow listings in Israeli settlements

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Airbnb is rescinding its plan to bar listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The home-sharing company announced in November that it would remove about 200 listings in the West Bank, which is territory claimed by Palestinians. Airbnb said Tuesday it will now allow properties in Israeli settlements to be listed, but will donate all of its profits from properties in the West Bank to humanitarian aid organizations.

The company said it will also apply the same approach in other disputed territories in the world, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal," Airbnb said.

Supporters of Airbnb's initial plan expressed disappointment.

"Donating profits from unlawful settlement listings, as they've promised to do, does nothing to remedy the human suffering they have acknowledged that their activities cause," said the advocacy group Human Rights Watch in a statement. "By continuing to do business in settlements, they remain complicit in the abuses settlements trigger."

But others celebrated the news.

"I believe other companies considering boycotts are going to take real note of the mistake Airbnb made and refuse to act against Israel and the Jewish community," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, a Tel Aviv-based Israeli advocacy group.

San Francisco-based Airbnb was sued in U.S. federal court by 12 dual U.S.-Israeli citizens who own homes in the settlements. Airbnb's reversal settles that case.

"As a provider of a service to the public, Airbnb is not permitted to refuse to provide services to selected religious groups to engineer who it thinks should be allowed to live where," said Robert Tolchin, an attorney for the plaintiffs. "We are gratified that the legal process has worked."

The plan didn't affect about 20,000 other listings throughout Israel, including listings in other disputed areas like east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Airbnb announced its reversal late Tuesday Israeli time, in the midst of the country's national elections. During the campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected, a step that would likely end the remaining hopes of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Darshan-Leitner said she thinks Airbnb "intentionally sought out the busiest news day of the Israeli calendar in order to bury the story of their embarrassing walk back."

Airbnb didn't comment beyond its blog post announcing the change.

Even after its announcement in November, Airbnb had slow-walked the decision. Listings in Israeli settlements continued to be available on its site, and visitors could book them well into the future. In a January blog post, the company said it was working with experts to identify precise boundaries "and ensure that our technological solutions attend to the relevant details."

Political and legal pressure kept mounting. Amnesty International was among those pressuring the company to go even further and ban listings in east Jerusalem. At the same time, Texas, Florida and Illinois said they would prohibit any state business with Airbnb because of its stance on the listings in the West Bank settlements.

Airbnb's rivals, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor, continued to offer properties in the settlements. TripAdvisor said it makes clear when properties are within Israeli settlements, and it uses the term "Palestinian Territories" to refer to the West Bank and other areas.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Today over 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, in addition to some 200,000 Israelis in east Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim both areas as parts of a future state.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ecuador reminds Assange embassy stay can't be permanent
Ecuador is reminding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange once again that he can't stay indefinitely in the nation's London embassy
4:10PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Sara Gilbert exits 'The Talk,' cites work-life balance
Sara Gilbert is leaving the daytime talk show she helped launch
4:04PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Crews searching for California hikers missing 3 days
Authorities are searching a snowy, mountainous area in Southern California for two hikers who've been missing for three days
4:02PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Loughlin, husband, others hit with money laundering charge
Federal prosecutors have added money laundering to the list of accusations against actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other parents in the college admissions bribery case
3:34PM ( 45 minutes ago )
California advances first-in-US rules on police shootings
California lawmakers have considered emotional testimony from officers and survivors of police shootings as they advanced a first-in-the-nation measure restricting when police can use deadly force
3:29PM ( 51 minutes ago )
NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak
New York City has declared a health emergency over a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations for people who may have been exposed to the virus
3:26PM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP National News
Can we talk? McConnell says it's time for new spending pact
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Tuesday it's time to kick off bipartisan talks on a new budget pact to fund federal agencies over the next two years
2:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
NHL suspends Voynov for 2019-20 season for domestic violence
The NHL has suspended defenseman Slava Voynov for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs after determining he committed acts of domestic violence
2:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
Boeing orders and deliveries tumble as Max jet is grounded
Boeing reports that orders and deliveries of its popular 737 plane fell in the first quarter, which was marred by the second deadly crash involving a 737 Max jet
2:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Gun-maker to ask Supreme Court to hear Sandy Hook appeal
The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a Connecticut court ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against the company filed by victims' relatives
12:53PM ( 3 hours ago )
Putin outlines ambitious Arctic expansion program
President Vladimir Putin has put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia's foothold in the Arctic, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet
12:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
Putin presents ambitious Arctic expansion program
President Vladimir Putin has put forward an ambitious program to secure Russia's foothold in the Arctic, including efforts to build new ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker fleet
11:56AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Ecuador reminds Assange embassy stay can't be permanent
Ecuador is reminding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange once again that he can't stay indefinitely in the nation's London embassy
4:10PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Sara Gilbert exits 'The Talk,' cites work-life balance
Sara Gilbert is leaving the daytime talk show she helped launch
4:04PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Crews searching for California hikers missing 3 days
Authorities are searching a snowy, mountainous area in Southern California for two hikers who've been missing for three days
4:02PM ( 17 minutes ago )
US forces: 3 Marines killed, Afghan contractor wounded
US forces: 3 American service members killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan on Monday; Afghan contractor wounded
3:59PM ( 20 minutes ago )
'Amazing': Dwyane Wade's last game in Miami may have arrived
After 16 years, Dwyane Wade may be in final moments of storied NBA career
3:52PM ( 28 minutes ago )