Home-renting company Airbnb said on Monday that it had decided to remove its listings in Jewish areas in Yehudah and Shomron, enclaves that most world powers consider illegal for taking up land where Palestinians seek statehood.
A statement on Airbnb’s website said: “We 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.”
It did not say when the decision, which according to Airbnb affects some 200 listings, would take effect.
Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin called on the company to rescind what he called “this shameful, discriminatory decision. In the meantime, he directed ministry staff to launch renewed efforts to promote tourism in Yehudah and Shomron.
In addition, according to a statement from his office, Levin has ordered his office to “formulate immediate measures to limit the company’s activity throughout the country,” indicating unspecified punitive steps.
The decision provoked the ire of regional political leaders as well:
Bet El Mayor Shai Alon said, “Once again a ‘selection’ of Jews is being performed. It is not new and we are not bothered by the boycott, this time by Airbnb. I call on Israelis: Come vacation in Judea and Samaria. The scenery here is amazing, the air is clear and the hospitality is better than many places you know.”
Efrat local council Chairman Oded Revivi was less harsh: “It is disappointing to see the [Airbnb] site surrender to extreme pressure, thereby damaging the essence of its existence as well as its uniqueness,” says Revivi, who also serves as the foreign envoy for the Yesha settlement umbrella council.
“The decision does an injustice to Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, constitutes a surrender to extremists and is a mistake that distances peace.”
Updated Monday, November 19, 2018 at 1:53 pm added comments