Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor 'profiting' from Israeli settlements: Amnesty

A road sign points towards an Airbnb apartment, located in the Esh Kodesh outpost, near the Jewish settlement of Shilo and the Palestinian village of Qusra in the occupied West Bank on Nov 20, 2018.
A road sign points towards an Airbnb apartment, located in the Esh Kodesh outpost, near the Jewish settlement of Shilo and the Palestinian village of Qusra in the occupied West Bank on Nov 20, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Digital tourism giants Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor are profiting from "war crimes" by offering services in Israeli settlements, rights group Amnesty International said in a report published on Wednesday (Jan 30).

The British-based non-governmental organisation's "Destination: Occupation" study called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities and attractions in settlements in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

"They are doing so despite knowing that Israel's occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is governed by international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal," said the report.

"In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law."

The rights group accused the firms of "normalising" settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"To boost bookings, many listings in settlements boast of their proximity to areas of natural beauty in the occupied territories, such as the Dead Sea, nature reserves and the desert," it added.

"By listing and promoting these natural features and nature-based activities and attractions, the digital companies are increasing the attractiveness of the listings, securing greater numbers of tourists and ultimately benefiting financially from the illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources."

 

Amnesty launched a campaign in 2017 calling on governments to prevent businesses based in their countries from operating in settlements.

"Governments worldwide must take action to regulate companies or activities over which they have control," urged the report.