Airbnb Reverses Decision to Remove West Bank Homes from Site
Last Tuesday, Airbnb reversed their decision to remove listings of properties in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.
Airbnb’s initial decision to remove the listings was announced in November 2018 after criticisms that the company profited off of the expansion of Israeli settlements in the region. The decision was widely supported by Palestinian officials, activists and human rights groups. The company was set to eliminate about 200 listings from its website, but its decision was met with protest and a series of challenges.
The controversy stems from a recognition by some members of the international community of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a possible violation of international law. However, the Israeli government claims the land is disputed, not occupied, and that a resolution determining the fate of the settlements must be negotiated with the Palestinians.
The announcement came after a series of legal challenges from Israeli and Jewish-American citizens, claiming that the decision discriminated against members of Jewish communities on the basis of their religion.
In response to the recent litigation and criticism from Israeli politicians, Airbnb denounced the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and denied that their initial decision was in support of the movement.
A total of four lawsuits concerning Airbnb were filed between the United States and Israel. One was filed in the state of Delaware where Airbnb is based, and the other three suits were filed in New York, California and Israel.
Airbnb has stated that it will donate any revenue generated from continued business dealings in the region to nonprofit humanitarian aid organizations. The company has said that the organizations that will receive donations will have no connection to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.