Dec 17, 2018

Airbnb delays boycott of Israeli settlements

An Airbnb-listed apartment near the Jewish settlement of Shilo in the occupied West Bank. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Airbnb will hold off on implementing its new policy of boycotting Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the company announced today. The statement was issued after a round of negotiations today between Airbnb vice president Chris Lehane and Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin.

Why it matters: Airbnb's decision last month to delist 200 apartments and houses for rent in the Israeli settlements shocked the Israeli government. In the last few weeks, the Israeli government together with pro-Israeli organizations in the U.S. pressed Airbnb to change course. However, Airbnb has clarified that it is preparing to implement the policy in the future.

An Airbnb delegation arrived secretly in Israel earlier today and held talks with the minister of tourism and his aides.

  • Israeli officials said the talks were very difficult, with Levin conveying tough messages to Lehane. The meeting ended in a deadlock, but in subsequent phone calls, the two sides agreed on text for the statement.

Airbnb's initial statement: "The new policy (regarding the settlements) will not be implemented. Airbnb will continue the dialogue with the Israeli government on the issue."

Update: Airbnb has now issued a second statement, which says the company is "developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders.” A spokesman said the first statement, which was in Hebrew, was "released in error."

  • Lehane will will meet with Levin again tomorrow to discuss the policy. Officials at Airbnb tell me the company will continue the dialogue with the Israeli government before deciding whether to keep the policy or change it.

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World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

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