San Francisco – Airbnb says it hasn’t reversed its plan to stop listing properties in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Earlier Monday, Israel’s tourism minister, Yariv Levin, said Airbnb pledged “not to implement” its decision during a meeting between the two sides. Airbnb’s plan would affect around 200 properties.
But Airbnb says that report was inaccurate. The San Francisco-based company says it is developing the tools needed to implement its policy while it continues to talk with stakeholders.
The company announced last month that it would stop listing properties in the settlements, which are considered illegal by most of the world.
The decision prompted uproar in Israel. Officials accused the company of anti-Semitism and threatened to impose taxes on its operations in Israel. Lawsuits were filed in Israel and the U.S.
Aribnb has backtracked on its decision to boycott West Bank settlements, Israel’s Tourism Ministry announced on Monday night.
“This is a step in the right direction,” Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.
The announcement follows a meeting between officials from Airbnb and Levin.
But in spite of Levin’s announcement, a statement could be found on the Airbnb website stating it no longer planned to list settler rentals.
Levin said that he will continue to act to ensure that all Israeli citizens will receive equal treatment and will continue to strengthen tourism in Israel, including in Judea and Samaria.
Last month, the vacation rental website announced that it will no longer list homes in Area C of the West Bank. About 200 homes in Judea and Samaria had been listed on Airbnb prior to the announcement.
Airbnb justified the decision by stating that it had developed a new five point checklist for handling listings in “occupied territories.” and had “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.”
Critics charged that Airbnb was singling out Israel, because it did not delisted properties in any other conflict zone, including Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Russian-occupied Crimea, or Chinese occupied Tibet, among others.