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Airbnb criticized for listing Jewish settlements as being inside Israel

From left Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia,   Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Brian Chesky


Certain Airbnb hosts who live in Israeli settlements in contested regions have been listing or describing their properties as being located in Israel.

The settlements, which include Efrat, Ma’ale Rehavam, and Tekoa, are considered illegal under international law, falling beyond the “green line” defined by the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Egypt, Israel, Jordan,  Lebanon and Syria after the 1948 Palestine war.

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Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas told The Guardian that the Web site incorporates users’ choice into their location listings, which run on Google Maps, in that users can choose to edit the address automatically suggested by Google. In some cases, Google does not automatically suggest a country, Papas offers.

While Papas alleges that the Web site follows “laws and regulations on where we can do business, and investigate[s] concerns raised about specific listings”, he refuses to clarify which laws and regulations the Web site prioritises in locations in which both Palestine and Israel claim jurisdiction.

Another Airbnb spokesperson, Peter Huntingford, refused to tell Al Jazeera whether incorrect listings on illegal Israeli settlements would be targeted for investigation.

Earlier this week the ambassador at large for the Palestinian government accused Airbnb of making money off of “illegal and criminal” activity.

“This website is promoting stolen property and land, ” Husam Zomlot first told The National, an English-language news outlet in the United Arab Emirates.

Zomlot also called for legal action against the startup — a company that “profit(s) from the occupation.”

“We will pursue this company in order to be a lesson for each one who is trading in our blood and profiting from the occupation, ” a translation of a Facebook post he wrote on Wednesday reads.

Read the full story at Money CNN, by Hope King


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