HOUSES IN the Jewish community of Efrat.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
TripAdvisor is profiting from war crimes by not delisting business and rentals in West Bank settlements, the NGO Amnesty International charged on Tuesday as it renewed its campaign against one of the leading web based vacation and tourist listing sites.
“Israel’s policy of settling Israeli citizens on stolen Palestinian land in occupied territory is a war crime,” said Mark Dummett, head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
TripAdvisor has stood firm in its refusal to delist Jewish properties or businesses in the Judea and Samaria, even though it lists settlements like Efrat and Ariel in the Palestinian Territories.
But in a statement TripAdvisor it didn’t believe in withholding travel information from users.
“We aim to provide travelers with an apolitical, accurate and useful picture of all accommodations, restaurants and attractions that are currently open for business around the world,” said Brian Hoyt who is senior director, of TripAdvisor’s corporate communications
Property or business listings on TripAdvisor “does not represent our endorsement of that establishment,” he added.
“We provide the listing as a platform for guests to share their genuine experiences with other travelers. As such, we do not remove listings of properties or businesses that remain active and open for business,” Hoyt said.
But Dummett said charged that TripAdvisor listings was boosting the West Bank settlement economy at the expense of Palestinian suffering.
Palestinians have ‘been uprooted from their land, had their homes destroyed and their natural resources plundered for settlement use, Dummett said.
According to Amnesty, TripAdvisor lists more than 70 different attractions, tours, restaurants, cafes, hotels and rental apartments in West Bank settlements.
It’s Israel spokesman Gil Naveh insisted to The Jerusalem Post
but Amnesty was not calling for a boycott and that it had no connection to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement. The issue at hand, he said, is that companies like TripAdvisor should not profit from war crimes.
Amnesty called on TripAdvisor employees to demand that their company take action on the matter. In an open letter to the TripAdvisor Staff it said that “settlements have had a devastating impact on the human rights of Palestinians, with tens of thousands of homes demolished and large numbers of Palestinians forcibly displaced to make way for their construction.”
Amnesty has also targeted other web-based tourist sites such as Expedia, booking.com and Airbnb.
Last year Airbnb decided to delist West Bank settlements, but then rescinded that policy after a number of lawsuits were filed against and a number of states, such as Florida, blacklisted it.
YESHA Deputy head Yigal Dilmoni said that Judea and Samaria was the “land of the bible.”
Tourists sites in Judea and Samaria showcase the heritage of the Jewish people and the biblical stories that happened there, he said.
“Those who do not see tht, are either blind or lying to themselves,” hesaid.
“We are calling on the whole world, and each to each person who wants to see and feel the biblical experience, to come and visit and to Judea and Samaria,” Dilmoni said.
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