Palestinians up in arms over Airbnb listings in Judea-Samaria

January 20, 2016  

The Airbnb accommodations start-up has incurred the wrath of Palestinians over allowing listings from Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria, The Associated Press (AP) reports Wednesday. 

According to the Palestinians, the listings are “misleading” as they fail to state the property is on “occupied Palestinian territory,” and that by allowing them, Airbnb is contributing to “Israel’s settlement enterprise.”

“Any international company like Airbnb that profits from the occupation and from our blood must be held accountable and brought to justice,” Husam Zomlot, a former adviser to Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, asserted to AP.

Senior PA official Saeb Erekat even sent a letter to Airbnb’s CEO last week demanding the company refrain from allowing “settlers” to post their properties on its website. 

Despite the fact that Airbnb has listings in other locations considered part of territorial disputes, such as Northern Cyprus and the Western Sahara, the Palestinians appear to be the only ones making trouble. 

The complaint against Airbnb comes in tandem with the release of a report Tuesday by Human Rights Watch claiming businesses operating in Judea-Samaria furnish “an inherently unlawful and abusive system that violates the rights of Palestinians.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanual Nahshon rejected both the report and the criticism of Airbnb, saying, “The Palestinians should stop whining and take their fate in their own hands and stop blaming Israel for their incapacity to build their own economy.”

Airbnb, meanwhile, wrote in an email to AP that it “follows laws and regulations on where we can do business” and says the accuracy of listings on the site – which are grouped according to cities, not countries – are the responsibility of the hosts. 

Moshe Gordon, one such host in Judea-Samaria, told AP, “It is Israel. I don’t really understand the controversy here.”

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