Ahead of preparing to go public in a multi-billion-dollar Initial Public Offering (IPO), Amnesty International said that Airbnb must withdraw listings of rental properties built illegally on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“The San Francisco-based online accommodation company has around 200 properties for rent in the illegal Israeli settlements that are at the heart of systematic human rights violations faced by Palestinians,” Amnesty declared.
Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, said Airbnb needs to stop benefiting from illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories because settlements are a war crime under international law.
Higazi noted, “Shamefully, Airbnb has been promoting and benefiting from a situation that is a root cause of the systematic human rights violations faced by millions of Palestinians on a daily basis.”
Airbnb stock is expected to be purchased by investment and pension funds across the world, which could mean that a large number of people will indirectly hold investments in Airbnb without understanding the full ramifications.
Although Airbnb, two years ago, said it would remove accommodation in the settlements from its listings, it reversed its decision, following a number of lawsuits and said the company would allow the listings to remain but would “take no profits from this activity in this region.”
Airbnb was one of more than 100 companies around the world listed in a UN database of firms whose business operations linked them to Israeli settlements in the OPT. These settlements are illegal under international law.