[News] Airbnb complicit in ‘plunder of Palestinian refugee properties’ says new report

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 29 11:35:28 EDT 2019


  Airbnb complicit in ‘plunder of Palestinian refugee properties’ says
  new report

October 29, 2019

Online accommodation and tourism giant Airbnb has been accused of 
“complicity in the plunder of Palestinian refugee properties”, in a new 
report published last week.

According to Who Profits 
an independent research centre focused on exposing corporate involvement 
in the “ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands”, 
their new update sheds light on a “largely overlooked” dimension of 
Airbnb’s “complicity”.

Taking the Old City of Yafa (Jaffa) as a case study, the new report 
“aims to highlight the ways in which Israel confiscated and controlled 
Palestinian properties, leading to their privatisation”.

“Israel has transformed properties into economic assets that benefit 
both the state and private actors, thus undermining Palestinians’ 
legally enshrined Right of Return,” stated the research centre.

“Serving as a platform for showcasing the homes that once belonged to 
Palestinians, Airbnb plays a role in strengthening the Israeli hold over 
Palestinian refugee properties,” Who Profits added.

*READ: Palestinians call for NGOs to reject donations from Airbnb 

During the Nakba of 1948 
more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands 
– property that was subsequently appropriated by the Israeli state 
“through legal mechanisms that formalise their confiscation and turn 
them into economic assets”, Who Profits explained.

According to the centre, this “privatisation” of refugee properties has 
benefitted market actors and Jewish Israelis, “whilst further 
threatening the possibility of Palestinians reclaiming ownership of 
their properties in the future”.

In the case of Jaffa, what was once the largest Palestinian city was 
almost entirely ethnically cleansed during the Nakba 
(five per cent of its Palestinian residents remained post-1948). Today, 
the Old City is one of the most popular sites in Israel for tourists, 
where Airbnb lists more than 40 properties.

In its new report, Who Profit notes that “while the issue of listing 
settlement properties [in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem] has 
gained worldwide attention, the issue of listing refugee properties 
‘abandoned’ in 1948 remains largely overlooked.”

*READ: Palestinians to sue Israel settlers in US court over Airbnb 

“The act of plundering and privatizing refugee properties by the Israeli 
state, which started during the Nakba and continues to this day, has 
transformed the refugee properties in Yafa into commodities that can now 
be listed by hosts on platforms such as Airbnb,” the report concluded.

“In serving as a platform for these properties, as well as those in 
settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, Airbnb is profiting 
from the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians.”

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