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  • Palestine's Nakba day is celebrated on May 15.

    Palestine's Nakba day is celebrated on May 15. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 May 2019

“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"

Human rights groups have called on Airbnb users to deactivate their accounts on May 15, in solidarity with Palestine on Nakba day, and in protest against the company’s West Bank policy.

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A number of peace campaigners and human rights groups have asked Airbnb customers to deactivate their accounts tomorrow in protest at the fact the company continues to operate in the occupied West Bank. Groups include Codepink, Jewish Voice for Peace and SumOfUs.

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

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

In November 2018 the company declared that they would not allow listings from occupied Palestinian territories so that settlers could not profit from using the website. However, following backlash from pro-Israel organizations, Airbnb quickly reversed the policy, angering Palestine campaigners. Although settlers will be allowed to list properties, the company pledged not to profit itself, saying “Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”

The activists believe this isn't good enough and call on the company to return to their policy of delisting properties in occupied territories. They have called for the boycott to fall on ‘Nakba Day’, the day commemorating the expulsion of over 700, 000 Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel.

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