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Campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on Nakba Day

An international coalition of human rights organisations are demanding the company delists properties for rent in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories

AN INTERNATIONAL coalition has been relaunched tomorrow demanding that Airbnb delist properties for rent in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Campaigners are calling on people across the world to deactivate their Airbnb accounts to mark tomorrow’s anniversary of Nakba Day — the date on which more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes as the state of Israel was established.

Thousands of people from Chile to Indonesia have answered the Stolen Homes Coalition’s call to action and have committed to shutting down their accounts for the day, according to a statement.

The coalition, which includes SumOfUs, Codepink, American Muslims for Palestine, the US Palestinian Community Network, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace, was angered over the global accommodation website’s reversal of its November 2018 decision to delist properties in the illegal settlements.

“If Airbnb wants to continue to allow rental suites on the ruins of Palestinian lives and land then they will continue to get pressured to do the right thing,” the coalition said.

“There’s no ‘two sides’ of a so-called conflict in the settlements. It’s stolen land from Palestinians, plain and simple.”

Airbnb initially agreed to stop listing properties to rent in the illegally occupied West Bank and Jerusalem after pressure from human rights groups and a global petition that garnered more than 150,000 signatures.

However, in April the multibillion-dollar company backpedalled, saying it would “not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform.”

An Airbnb statement said it understood “the complexity of the issue,” claiming to take “no profits from this activity in the region.”

The statement added: “Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organisations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”

The development of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine is deemed a breach of international law.

“By doing business in these settlements, Airbnb and other international companies are contributing to the economic viability of settlements and are normalising Israeli annexation of Palestinian land,” the coalition said, accusing the company of “directly promoting discrimination, oppression and injustice.”

Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy spokesman Salem Barahmeh said: “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.”

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