Israeli officials condemn Booking.com’s recent decision to display a security warning on its listings in the illegally occupied West Bank.
Last week, the Dutch travel company told the AP it would inform customers traveling to Israeli settlements that the areas are “contested, conflict-affected or high-risk” and “may pose greater risks.” important”. Booking.com is still developing the wording and it’s unclear when these warnings will actually be implemented.
Rights groups like Amnesty International have accused companies like Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and TripAdvisor of “profiting from war crimes” by promoting properties in Israeli settlements.
This decision was immediately greeted with strong criticism in Israel. The country’s Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov told Ynet TV the decision was “political” and that he had written to the company threatening a “diplomatic war” if it was not reversed. “Millions of tourists visit Israel, including this region,” Razvozov said. “In the end, there is no problem.”
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the warnings amounted to a boycott of Israeli settlements and attacked the company’s “ignorance and hypocrisy”. “Reservation, you should really read the Book, the Bible. Do you know why Judea is called Judea? “, he said in a video posted on Twitter. “Because that’s where the Jews come from. It has been our home for nearly 4,000 years. You really should take a history lesson.
The warnings were celebrated by Palestinian activists and organizations. “We welcome Booking.com’s decision to acknowledge the reality of the occupation and human rights abuses resulting from Israel’s policy of apartheid,” Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad said. Awad, in a statement. “More companies should speak out against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its system of racial, religious and ethnic segregation.”
Sandra Tamari, Executive Director of the Adalah Justice Project, said Mondoweiss that the news was welcomed, but stressed that more pressure was needed. “Booking.com, if it comes with a warning label on West Bank listings, is taking a good first step in acknowledging that sites ‘hosted’ by Israeli settlers in the West Bank are on occupied land,” it said. she declared. “We must applaud this decision while continuing to push them to remove all settler lists. Our movement is strong enough to win this fight, but it will take all of us to make it happen.
The group is calling for signatures on a petition that is being sent to Booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel. “The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights make it clear that businesses have a responsibility to respect international humanitarian law. We urge you to firmly resist the pressures of the Israeli regime which is determined to continue stealing and violently annexing Palestinian lands,” it read. “You have the power to stop fueling the violation of Palestinian human rights by de-listing properties on stolen Palestinian land that benefit the settlement enterprise that destroys Palestinian lives.
In 2018, digital tourism company Airbnb announced it was delisting properties from West Bank settlements, only to reverse its decision after facing backlash and a number of lawsuits.
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