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Palestinians call for Airbnb boycott on Nakba Day to protest Israeli settlements

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 May, 2019

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Palestinian campaigners urged supporters to temporarily deactivate their Airbnb accounts on Wednesday to protest its listings in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian campaigners urged supporters to temporarily deactivate their Airbnb accounts on Wednesday to protest its listings in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

After Israeli pressure, the company last month reversed course and scrapped plans to ban homes in settlements from listing on the site.

The decision has led to fresh anger from groups opposed to the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

A range of organisations including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy have backed a call for an at least temporary deactivation.

"It is time to end this culture of impunity that has allowed the occupation, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people to continue," Salem Barahmeh, executive director of PIPD, told Ma'an News Agency.

"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."

Thousands of people across the world, from the United States to Indonesia, have so far responded to the campaign and deactivated their accounts, organisers say.

Airbnb declined to comment, pointing instead to its statement from the April reversal.

That statement says that while the company will not ban settlement homes it will give all profits from those listings to charities.

Campaigners say this does not stop the settlers from making profits.

Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the occupied West Bank and range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns, in addition to 200,000 living in settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.

Settlements are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

All settlements are illegal under international law.

The call to boycott Airbnb falls on the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forcibly displaced from their land during the establishment of the Israeli state.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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