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
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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.


Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

Updated 21 May 2019
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Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

  • There are expectations producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year
  • President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with ‘great force’ if it attacked US interests in the Middle East

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on escalating US-Iran tensions and amid expectations that producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year.
But gains were checked by concerns that a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing could lead to a global economic slowdown.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.24 per barrel at 0534 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.36 per barrel.
“Escalating tensions between the US and Iran, in addition to signs that OPEC will continue its production cut, drove oil higher,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at futures brokerage London Capital Group.
US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East. This came after a rocket attack in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which Washington suspects to have been organized by militia with ties to Iran.
Iran said on Tuesday that it would resist US pressure, declining further talks under current circumstances.
The tension comes amid an already tight market as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been withholding supply since the start of the year to prop up prices.
A meeting has been scheduled for June 25-26 to discuss the policy, but the group is now considering moving the event to July 3-4, according to OPEC sources on Monday, with its de-facto leader Saudi Arabia signaling a willingness to continue withholding output.
Price gains were constrained by pressure on financial markets, which have this week been weighed down by worries that the United States and China are digging in for a long, costly trade war that could result in a broad global slowdown.
Singapore, seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy, on Tuesday posted its lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade of 1.2 percent year-on-year. Growth in Thailand, a key Asian emerging market, also slowed to a multi-year low.