Airbnb has announced the decision to remove listings located on the West Bank of Israel.
The move comes as Airbnb state that rental properties in the are “at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The company confirmed the news via a statement, revealing that around 200 rental listings will be affected by the decision. “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 statement read.
“We 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.”
Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, celebrated the decision and said that the move by Airbnb was “an initial positive step.”
“Israeli settlements are not just an obstacle to peace but defy the very definition of peace,” Erekat added.
The decision from Airbnb has resulted in a three-year battle from Palestinian leaders, who previously appealed for the company to remove listings in a letter that stated: “Airbnb is effectively promoting the illegal colonization of occupied land.”
However, the decision has been heavily criticised by Israeli leaders who have instantly hit out at Airbnb and demanded that the decision should be reversed: “This was a disgraceful and miserable decision and a disgraceful surrender by the company,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.
Despite their anger, Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, said in a press release that “Airbnb’s decision to end its listings in Israeli settlements is an important recognition that such listings can’t square with its human rights responsibilities. We urge other companies to follow suit.”