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Airbnb Bans Listings in Israeli Settlements on West Bank

Category: Middle East,World

Settler leaders called Airbnb’s decision “anti-Semitic.”

In a measure of the depth of the dispute over the territory, one Palestinian leader said Airbnb had not gone far enough.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that while the decision was “an initial, positive step,” Airbnb had failed to state clearly that “Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute war crimes.”

Human Rights Watch, the advocacy organization, said it had been speaking with Airbnb about its West Bank listings for two years, and it urged other companies to follow its example. The group said it would issue a report titled “Bed-and-Breakfast on Stolen Land: Tourist Rental Listings in West Bank Settlements” on Tuesday.

One settlement resident, Eliana Passentin, 45, said she had listed her home in Eli, overlooking ancient Shiloh, on Airbnb in the past and had been thinking of doing so again for the Hanukkah holiday in December.

Ms. Passentin, who has been living with her family in Eli for 23 years, said people from as far away as Nigeria had contacted her, wanting to pray in her garden overlooking ancient Shiloh.

Ms. Passentin listed the location of her accommodation as “Eli, Israel” because, she said, it was just like anywhere else in Israel.

“They’ve been misled,” she said of Airbnb. “I hope a lot of pressure will be put on the C.E.O. of Airbnb and they’ll realize they made a huge mistake.”

Ms. Passentin said: “It’s really about bringing people together, not politics. That’s what governments are for. We don’t need Airbnb for that.”

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