Online booking giants #Airbnb, #Booking.com, #Expedia and #TripAdvisor are fuelling human rights violations against Palestinians by listing hundreds of rooms and activities in Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, Amnesty International said today. In a new report, ‘Destination: Occupation’, the organization documents how online booking companies are driving tourism to illegal Israeli settlements and contributing to their existence and expansion.
Israel’s settling of Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) violates international humanitarian law and is a war crime. Despite this, the four companies continue to operate in the settlements, and profit from this illegal situation.
One of the settlements included in Amnesty International’s report is #Kfar_Adumim, a growing tourism hub located less than two kilometres from the Bedouin village of #Khan_al-Ahmar, whose imminent and complete demolition by Israeli forces has been given a green light by Israel’s Supreme Court. The expansion of Kfar Adumim and other surrounding settlements is a key driver of human rights violations against the local Bedouin community.
“Israel’s unlawful seizure of Palestinian land and expansion of settlements perpetuates immense suffering, pushing Palestinians out of their homes, destroying their livelihoods and depriving them of basics like drinking water. Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor model themselves on the idea of sharing and mutual trust, yet they are contributing to these human rights violations by doing business in the settlements,” said Seema Joshi, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Thematic Issues.
“The Israeli government uses the growing tourism industry in the settlements as a way of legitimizing their existence and expansion, and online booking companies are playing along with this agenda. It’s time for these companies to stand up for human rights by withdrawing all of their listings in illegal settlements on occupied land. War crimes are not a tourist attraction.”