In Big Win For Israel, Airbnb Reverses Ban On West Bank Listings

(Picture 1: Carl Court/Getty Images; Picture 2: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Jacob Orgel Contributor
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Airbnb reversed its controversial ban on listings in Israeli West Bank settlements Tuesday night, ending a five-month dispute over the legality of the measure.

The online hospitality service announced its decision in a blog post on its website and said it will be donating profits generated from the 200-plus West Bank listings to “non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid.”

“Airbnb will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform,” the post said. “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.”

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 13: The Old City is seen from the Mount of Olives on January 13, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. 70 countries attended the recent Paris Peace Summit and called on Israel and Palestinians to resume negotiations that would lead to a two-state solution, however the recent proposal by U.S President-elect Donald Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and last month's U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank have contributed to continued uncertainty across the region. The ancient city of Jerusalem where Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived side by side for thousands of years and is home to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound or for Jews The Temple Mount, continues to be a focus as both Israelis and Palestinians claim the city as their capital. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued since 1947 when Resolution 181 was passed by the United Nations, dividing Palestinian territories into Jewish and Arab states. The Israeli settlement program has continued to cause tension as new settlements continue to encroach on land within the Palestinian territories. The remaining Palestinian territory is made up of the West Bank and the Gaza strip. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Old City is seen from the Mount of Olives on January 13, 2017, in Jerusalem, Israel … (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The reversal was mandated in part of a settlement with a pro-Israel law organization that sued the company over its West Bank ban. The lawsuit accused Airbnb of discriminating against listings posted by Jewish hosts. (RELATED: Trump’s State Department Is No Longer Calling The West Bank ‘Occupied Territory’)

Airbnb announced it would also implement the non-profit donation model in other disputed territories around the world, in what seems to be an effort to avoid alignment in political hostilities.

Such an end-goal is becoming increasingly challenging to achieve for Airbnb and similar international corporations.

The Airbnb announcement came as Israeli voters were taking to the polls to elect their Prime Minister in the general election last night. The Likud party’s coalition alliances look to have established a clear pathway for the continued tenure of incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu — who promised to annex Jewish West Bank settlements if reelected.

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