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Airbnb gets pushback after pulling listings from Israeli West Bank settlements

U.S. law doesn't bar firms from doing business in disputed Israeli-Palestinian territories, but activists previously pushed Airbnb remove its listings there
November 23, 2018 10:00AM

Airbnb says it has eliminated 200 listings in the West Bank. (Credit: iStock)

Airbnb has decided to remove around 200 listings in Israeli’s disputed West Bank, and the Israeli government is crying foul.

The home-sharing giant said it was eliminating around 200 listings in the Israeli settlement, according to Reuters. Palestinians who support an independent Palestinian state welcomed the move, while Israel called it a “wretched capitulation” to boycotters.

“We will approach the U.S. government because 25 U.S. states have sanctions against American companies that boycott Israel,” said Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.

U.S. law does not bar companies from doing business in disputed Israeli-Palestinian territories, but activists have previously pushed Airbnb to pull its listings in Israeli settlements. Most governments consider the settlements — which now number around 126 — to be illegal.

Airbnb said it had drawn a framework for dealing with listings in disputed regions. The framework includes consultation with experts and stakeholders and an assessment of safety risks in the areas. It also makes a determination of whether listings have a “direct connection to the larger dispute in the region” and whether they are “contributing to existing human suffering.”

Airbnb did not say where else it has applied the framework. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is looking at ways, including taxation, to restrict Airbnb in the country.

Airbnb is readying to go public by late 2020 , CEO Brian Chesky said in February. That statement came a year after he said  the company wanted to be ready for an initial public offering by the end of 2018. [Reuters]Dennis Lynch