Calls for Airbnb users to shut accounts over Israeli settlements

That statement says that while the company will not ban settlement homes it will give all profits from those listings to charities. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 May 2019
0

Calls for Airbnb users to shut accounts over Israeli settlements

  • After Israeli pressure, the company last month reversed course and scrapped plans to ban homes in settlements from listing on the site
  • That statement says that while the company will not ban settlement homes it will give all profits from those listings to charities

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Campaigners called on supporters of the Palestinian cause to at least temporarily deactivate their Airbnb accounts on Wednesday to protest its listings in settlements in the occupied West Bank.
After Israeli pressure, the company last month reversed course and scrapped plans to ban homes in settlements from listing on the site.
The decision has led to fresh anger from groups opposed to the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.
A range of organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy have backed a call for an at least temporary deactivation, with organizers saying thousands had pledged to do so.
“Ultimately we would like Airbnb to reverse its decision but we know that won’t be easy,” Salem Barahmeh, executive director of PIPD, told AFP.
“But I think what we ultimately want to do is end this culture of impunity where international companies are allowed to be complicit in supporting war crimes and Israeli settlements that have been responsible for displacing Palestinians.”
Airbnb declined to comment, pointing instead to its statement from the April reversal.
That statement says that while the company will not ban settlement homes it will give all profits from those listings to charities.
Campaigners say this does not stop the settlers from making profits.
Around 400,000 Israelis live in settlements that dot the West Bank and range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns, in addition to 200,000 living in settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.
Settlements are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
The date of the protest coincides with the Palestinian commemoration of what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their land in the war surrounding the creation of Israel.


WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Oil sees big weekly loss as Iran struggles to store crude

Updated 43 sec ago
0

WEEKLY ENERGY RECAP: Oil sees big weekly loss as Iran struggles to store crude

RIYADH: Oil prices ended last week with the biggest weekly losses of the year. Brent fell below the $70 psychological barrier to $68.69 a barrel, while WTI dropped under $60 to $58.63.
The market remained under pressure from US stock-build for the third week in a row. But what mostly pushed prices lower was the low speculator activity, amid hesitation to add bets on almost flat price fluctuations.
The direction of oil prices has apparently ignored the tight physical market, amid signs that OPEC+ may extend its output cuts extensions, US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and slower Russian exports due to a contamination of some of its crude.
While Iran said it has already resumed oil sales to China, its biggest buyer, tanker tracker data suggests its total exports have plummeted. Iranian exports fell to 500,000 barrels per day or lower in May, more than half the level seen in April, the data suggest. However, Iran needs to keep oil flowing as any suspension would damage its future operations at its aging oil fields.
To keep its operations going as exports slump and sanctions block purchases, Iran has been forced to store more oil on land and at sea.
But that brings myriad problems. Iran’s land storage is very limited due to poor oil infrastructure and logistics that haven’t been developed since the mid-1970s. At sea, it has an aging fleet of ships, and it will face difficulties with insurance and in striking agreements with shipping companies.