The UN issued a report listing 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. The majority of companies are Israeli, but other countries include United States, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows its users to find lodging around the globe. It was founded in 2008 and is based in California and has listings in more than 220 countries and territories. The company is estimated to be worth $35 billion. It is preparing to sell company shares on the international stock market. There are over 200,000 Airbnb hosts in Israel. Bookings in settlements in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are still available for users on the platform.
In November 2018, Airbnb announced that it would remove its listings in the occupied territories of Palestine. However, this was met with disbelief from US and Israeli policymakers. As a result, in April 2019, the company said they “will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform”. Although, in a press released issued by Airbnb, they stated that they would not profit off bookings in Israeli settlements. They will instead donate the money to international humanitarian aid organizations.
The UN report follows up on Human Rights Council Resolution 36/31 issued in 2016, which called for a “database for all businesses engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”. The Israeli settlements are considered illegal according to international law. Therefore, revealing the companies could push the listed businesses to cease operations with Israel.
If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.