Destination Occupation: Travel sites profiting from Israeli settlements

Destination Occupation: Travel sites profiting from Israeli settlements
Amnesty International on Wednesday urged online travel sites Airbnb,, Expedia and TripAdvisor to ban listings from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
2 min read
30 January, 2019
The rights group accused the firms of "normalising" settlements in occupied Palestinian territories [AFP]
Digital tourism giants Airbnb,, Expedia and TripAdvisor are profiting from "war crimes" by offering services in Israeli settlements, rights group Amnesty International said in a report published on Wednesday.

The British-based NGO's "Destination: Occupation" study called on the companies to stop listing tourist accommodation, activities and attractions in settlements in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

"They are doing so despite knowing that Israel's occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is governed by international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal," said the report.

"In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law."

The rights group accused the firms of "normalising" settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

All four companies in Amnesty International’s report have the following listings in settlements, including East Jerusalem:
  • US-based Airbnb currently has more than 300 listings of properties in settlements in the OPT.
  • US-based TripAdvisor lists more than 70 different attractions, tours, restaurants, cafés, hotels and rental apartments in settlements in the OPT.
  •, which is headquartered in the Netherlands, lists 45 hotels and rentals in settlements in the OPT.
  • US-based Expedia lists nine accommodation providers, including four large hotels, in settlements in the OPT.

"To boost bookings, many listings in settlements boast of their proximity to areas of natural beauty in the occupied territories, such as the Dead Sea, nature reserves and the desert," it added.

"By listing and promoting these natural features and nature-based activities and attractions the digital companies are increasing the attractiveness of the listings, securing greater numbers of tourists and ultimately benefiting financially from the illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources."

Amnesty launched a campaign in 2017 calling on governments to prevent businesses based in their countries from operating in settlements.

"Governments worldwide must take action to regulate companies or activities over which they have control," urged the report.

Airbnb announced last November that it would remove West Bank settlement listings but has yet to implement its decision.

The company said it was working to identify the "precise boundaries" of areas subject to the policy.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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