Booking.com indicates it won't boycott Judea and Samaria

Online travel service indicates it won't follow in the footsteps of Airbnb and withdraw listings in Judea and Samaria.

Elad Benari,

Booking.com
Booking.com
iStock

The online travel service Booking.com indicated on Tuesday it would not be following in the footsteps of Airbnb and withdraw listings for rentals in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

The website told the AFP news agency it permits “all accommodation providers worldwide to list on our platform as long as they are in compliance with applicable laws.”

“Everything we do in terms of how we display information is always in accordance with local laws to provide transparency to anybody looking for accommodation on our site,” a statement from Booking.com said.

Airbnb, an online rental marketplace, announced on Monday that it will no longer list homes in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Following Airbnb’s announcement, Human Rights Watch urged Booking.com to follow suit, saying Airbnb's decision was a "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."

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) on Monday blasted Airbnb’s decision as “disgraceful and miserable” and demanded that the site cancel the decision.

He instructed his ministry staff to formulate immediate measures to limit the company's activity throughout the country and instructed ministry management to implement a special program to encourage tourism and accommodation in vacation apartments throughout Judea and Samaria.

On the other side, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator, praised Airbnb’s decision.

“While we believe that this is an initial positive step, it would have been crucial for Airbnb to follow the position of international law that Israel is the occupying power and that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute war crimes,” he said in a statement.

“We reiterate our call upon the UN Human Rights Council to release the database of companies profiting from the Israeli colonial occupation. Israeli settlements are not just an obstacle to peace but defy the very definition of peace,” added Erekat.




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