Israeli sues Airbnb over ouster of settler rentals

San Francisco-based Airbnb said it would remove West Bank homes from its site, prompting Israel's tourism ministry to threaten l
San Francisco-based Airbnb said it would remove West Bank homes from its site, prompting Israel's tourism ministry to threaten legal action

Israeli lawyers have filed a class action against Airbnb after its decision to remove Jewish settler homes in the occupied West Bank from its rental listings.

A spokesman for the attorneys, who spoke to AFP Friday on condition of anonymity, said the lead plaintiff was Maanit Rabinovich of Kida in the West Bank.

Rabinovich says Airbnb never contacted her to warn her of its intention.

The suit, the spokesman said, seeks 15,000 shekels (3,500 euros) in damages for Rabinovich and each other settler host should Airbnb delete them from its listings.

San Francisco-based Airbnb said Monday it would remove West Bank homes from its site, prompting Israel's tourism ministry to threaten legal action.

The decision would affect around 200 homes in Israeli settlements that had been listed on the platform.

Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns, in addition to 200,000 living in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem.

The international community considers the settlements to be illegal and a key barrier to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Airbnb has said it "concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians".

"We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective. This is a controversial issue," it said in a statement.

Israel's internal security minister, Gilad Erdan, called on settlers affected "to consider filing lawsuits against Airbnb".

Rabinovich's was filed Thursday in the Jerusalem district court, according to court documents seen by AFP.

It accuses Airbnb of "discriminating" against West Bank settlers while listing rooms to rent in other disputed territories around the world.

"China's control of Tibet has been condemned worldwide, and yet Airbnb offers 300 apartments for rent there," it says.

"In northern Cyprus, where control is deeply disputed between Greece and Turkey and has even led to war, Airbnb offers thousands of rental apartments."

The lawsuit also cites Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia and the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, saying that Airbnb lists about 300 rentals in the former and 138 in the latter.

"These partial examples testify to the fact that Airbnb has no policy regarding conflict zones around the world," it added.

"It has a policy regarding (Israeli) settlements, and only to them."

The US firm does not have an office in Israel, putting in doubt prospects of any ruling by the Jerusalem court being enforced.

The lawyers have drafted a request for leave to pursue the case in the United States.

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Nov 23, 2018
China's control of Tibet does not go directly and specifically against the International Laws for Occupation as set forth for the Israeli's to follow by the UN when they set up their Charter.

The Israeli's in the 'controlled territories' are war criminals, all 400K of them, as well as the Military who uses force to constantly terrorize what is a Captive Population on their Own Soil, yet denied free access to the Outside World as nearly all Nations have the ability to do, aside from Palestine.

Until that changes there should be NO business done with Israel on ANY front, political, economic and financial and especially no weapons sales or materials to use for weapons, any dual use materials must be denied Israel, the Only Nuclear Armed Terrorist Group in the World.

Even the Pakistani's are more honest in their dealings than Bibi has ever been.

Israel CANNOT Survive on a diet of just war, and especially not one instigated for political profit against an all but starved Gaza.

Nov 23, 2018
Unfortunately for the lawsuit, listings in Crimea have also been removed.

Nov 23, 2018
Yeah DS, The Ukraine and Crimea are sort of on the fence there anyhow, having been the Industrial Center and major production facilities built by the Soviets, and so have always been rather closer to the Russians, with whom they share language now. While the Ukraine has been reasonably successful in their post Soviet versions, they are still figuring out whether they want to follow the (now coming apart) European Union closer, or move back towards the Russian sphere, which is an old comfort for many.

It is a complicated situation there, but Israel is much more straight forward, sadly enough.

Nov 24, 2018
IDK, but I dont think China's control of Tibet implies that tibetans were evicted for chinese settlements to be built. Apples and oranges there. Israel otoh kicked the residents out, bulldozed their homes, and then built settlements - presumably for Israelis to live in, but now it seems it was for Israelis to rent out.

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