If the US government does not act, Airbnb will be a foreign policy

A decision Airbnb’s last week to stop listing more than 100 leased properties in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has sparked anger and accusations. However, a short-term accommodation service is fully in line with its rights; it only demonstrates leadership in fulfilling its international human rights obligations – a commitment by the US government.

The Israeli government has promised to respond to the company in Israel, where it has more more than 20,000 hosts. It is reported that the Israeli minister has asked US officials to consider sanctions on Airbnb under rules passed more than 20 U.S. states denying contracts to companies that refuse to operate in Israeli settlements.

Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based non-governmental organization called for a boycott companies. U.S. reactions reflect the shift over the past decade toward the demarcation of Israel and its settlements and the erosion of official U.S. policies. review settlements are an ‘obstacle to peace’.

A decision Airbnb’s last week to stop listing more than 100 leased properties in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has sparked anger and accusations. However, a short-term accommodation service is fully in line with its rights; it only demonstrates leadership in fulfilling its international human rights obligations – a commitment by the US government.

The Israeli government has promised to respond to the company in Israel, where it has more more than 20,000 hosts. It is reported that the Israeli minister has asked US officials to consider sanctions on Airbnb under rules passed more than 20 U.S. states denying contracts to companies that refuse to operate in Israeli settlements.

Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based non-governmental organization called for a boycott companies. Feedback from the U.S. reflects the shift over the past decade toward the demarcation line between Israel and its settlements and the erosion of official U.S. policy. review settlements are an ‘obstacle to peace’.

Airbnb has rightly banned accommodation from its site as a first step in implementing a new policy banning records that, in his words, contribute to “existing human suffering.” By this standard, Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a huge argument for ceasing business. Legal scholars agree that there are other occupied territories, such as Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus. Airbnb should also carefully examine the impact of its business operations on human rights lists and take the necessary action. However, it makes sense to start this where the seemingly innocuous rental business contributes to serious violations of human rights and military law.

First, the settlements are illegal, and Israeli officials responsible for relocating Israeli civilians to the West Bank commit a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The occupying power controls the land. In the West Bank, Israel has carved large areas of land just for Israel, separated from the rest of the West Bank by walls and fences and de facto connected them to Israel. Settlements are the main reason why Israel has ruled Palestinian territory for more than half a century, controlling more than 5 million Palestinians who are deprived of basic democratic rights.

Second, settlements contribute to serious human rights violations, including discrimination. The Israeli government discriminates against Palestinians in favor of settlers. They provide settlers and, in many cases, settlement businesses with land, water infrastructure, resources, and financial incentives to drive settlement growth. They are confiscating Palestinian land, forcibly expelling Palestinians, restricting their freedom of movement and restricting access to water and electricity. Of these, more than 99 percent is for Israel, and the government has allocated less than 1 percent to the Palestinians.

This systematic legal and procedural separation applies to all aspects of life: what roads people are allowed to use, how much water they are given, what law they are subject to, what court will try them and what punishment they will be if convicted. Such open discrimination would be outrage anywhere. However, this is a double outrage in the occupied West Bank because The Israeli government privileged the illegal settlers over the Palestinians, who the Israeli authorities are obliged to protect under international occupation law.

Thirdly, companies operating in or with settlements cannot avoid contributing to these violations of international law, as business activities support settlements and take place under conditions of inherent discrimination. Airbnb’s rental profits make the settlements more economically viable and help cover the costs of the settlers living there. Even if Airbnb and their hosts wanted to open a settlement lease to Palestinian guests from the West Bank, they would lack the power to repeal the military order banning Palestinians from the homes where they are.

They cannot remove the fence built to protect the village, which prevents Palestinian children from attending high school. They cannot return land that the Israeli army has illegally taken from the Palestinians. At least 15 of the settlements leased by Airbnb are on the land of the Israeli authorities to recognize is privately owned by Palestinians, but has been handed over to settlers who have built houses on it and rented them through Airbnb.

One such landowner is Awni Shaaeb, a naturalized U.S. citizen and U.S. Army veteran living in the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud. According to Human Rights Watch report, the settlers occupied his land with the support of the Israeli army. Now he can’t even pay to stay on that land as an Airbnb guest, let alone how to develop the land himself, because Israeli military law does not allow Palestinian ID holders to enter settlements, even if Israelis and other U.S. citizens can enter the West Bank. settlement freely. That is why Airbnb’s activities in the settlements, like all its business activities in the settlements, are subject to inherent discrimination.

United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require to avoid contributing to serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law. In the case of Israeli settlements, the only way to do this is to cease operations. Although Airbnb has decided to stop contributing to the settlement abuse project, it will still provide services to Israelis and will continue to list thousands of properties for rent in Israel.

Really, Airbnb highlights Tel Aviv as one of the only ones 23 cities all over the world, which it specifically recommends to guests along with Paris, New York, Tokyo and Buenos Aires, making it hard to say the company is behaving against Israel.according to the Israeli government.

Airbnb will have to decide how to apply its policy elsewhere, as well as establish the facts and take appropriate action in each case. Morocco, for example, has also illegally relocated settlers to the occupied region of Western Sahara, even though Moroccan settlers live among the Sahrawi population, and no law prohibits Sahrawis from booking a stay on Morocco-owned Airbnb. It is difficult to know whether the owner of Airbnb is a settler or a Sahrawi person, the Airbnb factor will need to be taken into account.

Until last week, Airbnb assessed human rights only in accordance with local law, and in particular U.S. law. As a result, it did not include real estate in Russian-occupied Crimea because U.S. and European Union sanctions prevented it from doing so. It has also banned discrimination against American and European hosts, as required by U.S. and EU law, but not by hosts elsewhere in the world.

However, relying on local laws alone to ensure the protection of human rights is not enough, as the example of the West Bank shows. Not only does the U.S., where Airbnb is headquartered, not prohibit doing business in settlements, but a number of U.S. jurisdictions are actually trying to punish businesses and individuals who refuse to do so in settlements. For example, laws Arizona, New Jersey, Florida, and Illinois require recipients of public contracts to confirm that they are not boycotting Israeli settlements, refusing to invest in those who do so, and evenblacklists“Companies that refuse to operate in settlements.

The United States provides military and diplomatic support to the Israeli settlement project, including $ 3 billion in military aid annually, part of which is used to carry out obstacles and protect Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Washington has also blocked any binding UN action against West Bank settlements, which means international sanctions are unlikely to stop businesses from operating.

Unlike your opponent Booking.com– who refuses to leave the settlements of Israel, disputing that it does not buy or sell rooms and therefore does not support or support the existence of settlements – Airbnb could now set an example for other companies to apply universal human rights standards, even if local laws do not comply. In the Occupied West Bank, Airbnb made the right call.

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