Airbnb to remove around 200 listings for rooms and homes in Israeli West Bank settlements

Home-renting company says it 'struggled to come up with the right approach' to the issue


Airbnb is to remove its listings for Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The home-renting company said approximately 200 homes in the territory would be taken offline in the coming days after it had considered whether their existence was “contributing to existing human suffering”.

“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,” Airbnb said in a statement.

“Others believe that companies should not withdraw business operations from these areas.

“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.”

The company “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,” Airbnb said.

The approximately 200 Airbnb listings in Israeli West Bank settlements start at £16 for a double bedroom in a flat in Ariel.

A house that sleeps 12 in Shilo, with access to a hot tub and sweeping views across the Biblical Shiloh Valley, was listed on the website for £84.

The listings were still online on Monday evening.

Israel's Tourism Minister Yariv Levin instructed officials to restrict Airbnb operations across Israel in response to the decision, Haaretz reported.

The mayor of the settlement of Efrat, Oded Revivi, told Reuters that Airbnb’s decision was contrary to the website’s mission of “help(ing) to bring people together in as many places as possible around the world”.

“When they make such a decision, they get involved with politics, which ... is going to defeat the actual purpose of the entreprise itself,” he said.

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