Calls to expand lodging boycott of Israeli towns over Green Line

Human Rights Watch urges Booking.com to join ban on Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria - ignores discrimination against Israeli travelers.

Arutz Sheva Staff, AFP,

AIRBNB
AIRBNB
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Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged Booking.com to follow the example of Airbnb and withdraw listings for rentals located in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Airbnb said Monday it will remove such listings, just ahead of the release of an HRW report criticizing them.

Israel strongly denounced Airbnb's decision and threatened legal action against the company, while Palestinian Authority officials welcomed it.

The US-based NGO issued its report on Tuesday and called on Booking.com to follow Airbnb's "positive step".

"By ending its brokering of rentals in illegal settlements on land off-limits to Palestinians, Airbnb has taken a stand against discrimination and land confiscation and theft," Omar Shakir, HRW's regional director, told AFP.

"It is an important and welcome step and we encourage other companies like Booking.com to follow their lead and stop listing in settlements."

HRW issued the report on the online reservations firms, entitled "Bed and Breakfast on Stolen Land," along with Israeli NGO Kerem Navot.

It says Airbnb, based in the United States, listed at least 139 properties in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria between March and July.

Booking.com, based in the Netherlands, had 26 as of July, it said.

A total of 17 are on land Palestinian Authority residents have claimed belongs to them, according to HRW.

Booking.com had not immediately responded to a request for comment from AFP.

"Israelis and foreigners may rent properties in settlements, but Palestinian ID holders are effectively barred," HRW said in a statement announcing the report's release.

That is "the only example in the world the organizations found in which Airbnb hosts have no choice but to discriminate against guests based on national or ethnic origin," it said.

The HRW report ignored Airbnb listings in Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia, which do not accept Israeli passport holders or travelers with evidence of having visited Israel.

Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin on Tuesday threatened legal against Airbnb in the United States and Israel over its move, calling it "hypocritical and disgusting".




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