Mosque minaret in East Jerusalem and Palestinian city of Jabal al-Baba in the occupied West Bank. Photo: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images
After years of controversy, Airbnb is removing all home-share listings — about 200 — in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.
Why it matters: Tech companies are increasingly finding themselves in the middle of political storms, as the services they provide run into the crosscurrents of regional conflicts and ethical controversies.
What they're saying: In a blog post, Airbnb explained that it believes doing business in the settlements is legal, and in the past it felt its service could "bring people together" there.
- Now the company has developed a five-part checklist for evaluating how it handles listings in occupied territories, and based on that, it "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."
- "We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region," it added.
A number of other travel companies offer activities and accommodations in the settlements, according to Al-Jazeera.
- West Bank settlers’ listings on Airbnb draw Palestinian anger (New York Times)
- UN resolution on Israeli settlements puts Airbnb in a tight bind (San Francisco Chronicle)