Since 1967 when it captured the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), it has been Israeli government policy to promote the creation and expansion of Israeli settlements in the OPT. This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.
Meanwhile, companies from all over the world are conducting business activities in settlements and, in doing so, are helping sustain and expand Israel’s settlements in the OPT.
Digital tourism companies, like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor, are profiting from war crimes by listing properties and attractions in Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
These companies know that Israeli settlements have a negative impact on a vast number of human rights of the Palestinian population. This has been extensively documented by Amnesty International, the United Nations, and many other organizations. Any basic risk assessment by the companies would reveal that any business activity in or with settlements would unavoidably contribute to sustaining an illegal situation, as well as a regime that is inherently discriminatory and abusive of the human rights of Palestinians.
In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the development, maintenance and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law. The companies’ promotion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories as a tourist destination also has the effect of “normalizing” and legitimizing to the public what is recognized under international law as an illegal situation.
Under the UN Guiding Principles, companies have a responsibility to respect all internationally-recognised human rights wherever in the world they operate. To comply with their responsibilities to uphold international humanitarian law and respect human rights, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor must stop listing tourist accommodation, activities and attractions in settlements or run by settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
Our new report, Destination: Occupation, documents the ways in which digital tourism companies contribute to violations of human rights, and provides recommendations to governments and companies.
Sign our petition to TripAdvisor.
[Why TripAdvisor? TripAdvisor promotes more listings in more settlements than any other digital tourism company (with the exception of Airbnb, which pledged in November 2018 to remove most of its listings in settlements)].