Airbnb is Under Fire Over Listings from Israeli Settlers in Palestinian Territory

Israeli settlers are using stolen land to make money on Airbnb—but for the first time, Palestinians are facing them in a U.S. court.

Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. Airbnb said in November 2018 it would take down all such listings, but 19 Israeli settlers and U.S. citizens sued Airbnb, saying its decision “discriminates against Jews and/or Israelis.”

Now these Palestinians will share their stories as third parties in the same case.

“Settlers confiscated parts of these lands,” Mohammad Salameh, a resident of Anata in the West Bank, explained. “We, the landowners, need this land to be able to live on it. We are prohibited from living on these lands but people can come from Russia, Poland, and similar places, building housing units here, and then advertise it online for rent.”

They are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and are suing the settlers under the Fair Housing Act, as well as for war crimes, trespass, and unjust enrichment.

“It is immensely painful to know that those who own the land can’t walk on it or reach it but can only view it on the internet,” explained Jalud Village Council Head Abdallah Tewfik Abdallah.

Airbnb has yet to remove listings made by Israeli settlers.