A Palestinian campaign has called on people to deactivate their Airbnb accounts on May 15, because the home-sharing platform continues to list rental properties in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The global coalition behind the #deactivateAirbnb campaign asks people around the world to deactivate their Airbnb accounts on May 15, which is the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency said.
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Widespread protests are expected in the Palestinian territories on the anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in 1948 as Israel was established.
Last November, Airbnb had announced that it would remove “listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”, a statement on the Airbnb website said. It did not promise to remove properties in occupied East Jerusalem.
The delisting announcement prompted an outcry from Israeli officials and a flurry of legal claims against the San Francisco-based company.
In April, Airbnb said it would not implement the delisting of occupied West Bank settlement properties, which are considered illegal under international law.
The company said it would instead “donate proceeds from any of these bookings to international humanitarian aid organizations.”
In calling for the May 15 boycott, the coalition’s statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency said that “Israeli settlements are considered war crimes under international law and are responsible for the displacement of Palestinians and the theft of their land.”
“By doing business in these settlements, Airbnb and other international companies are contributing to the economic viability of settlements and are normalizing Israeli annexation of Palestinian land,” it added.
Salem Barahmeh, executive director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, said: “It is time to end this culture of impunity that has allowed the occupation, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people to continue.”
“International companies are complicit in perpetuating this injustice and must be held accountable. Through the #deactivateAirbnb campaign, people can choose whether to be complicit in supporting war crimes or ending them,” Barahmeh added.
In January, human rights organisation Amnesty International issued a report that accused Airbnb and other travel firms of profiting from “war crimes” by “normalising” illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.