Airbnb is canceling an earlier plan to bar listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The home-sharing company announced in November that it would remove about 200 listings in the West Bank, which is territory claimed by Palestinians.

Airbnb announced this week it will now permit properties in Israeli settlements to be listed. The company also said it will donate all of the company’s profits from West Bank properties to humanitarian aid organizations.

Airbnb said it will use the same approach in other disputed territories around the world, such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal,” Airbnb said.

Supporters of Airbnb’s initial plan expressed dissatisfaction.

Human Rights Watch said, “Donating profits from unlawful settlement listings … does nothing to remedy the human suffering.” The rights group added that, “By continuing to do business in settlements,” Airbnb remains active in the abuses settlements trigger.”

Others, however, celebrated the news.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner directs the Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, a Tel Aviv-based Israeli rights group. She said, “I believe other companies considering boycotts are going to take real note of the mistake Airbnb made and refuse to act against Israel and the Jewish community.”

Twelve home owners in the Jewish settlements brought legal action in U.S. federal court against Airbnb. All 12 are citizens of both Israel and the United States. The company’s change in plans settles that case.

Lawyer Robert Tolchin represents the 12 American-Israeli citizens. He said, “As a provider of a service to the public, Airbnb is not permitted to refuse to provide services to selected religious groups to engineer who it thinks should be allowed to live where.”

The initial plan did not affect about 20,000 other Airbnb listings throughout Israel, including listings in other disputed areas, such as east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Airbnb announced the change in plans late Tuesday Israeli time -- the same day as the country’s legislative elections.

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if returned to power, Israel would annex West Bank settlements. That would likely end the remaining hopes of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Today, over 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank. About 200,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim both areas as parts of a future state.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

approachn. a way for dealing with something

  • I really admire your direct approach to the problem.

achieve – v. to carry out or successfully bring about

  • He worked hard and achieved success.

remedyn. a solution; a treatment of medicine

  • The store now sells herbal remedies.

triggerv. to cause something to happen

  • Smoke triggered the fire alarm.

annex – v. to add as an extra

  • The United States annexed Texas in 1845.


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. What will Airbnb do with the profit from the West Bank properties?

2. Has Airbnb done anything similar before?

3. Is Human Rights Watch satisfied with this plan?

4. How many Israeli settlers live in the West Bank?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

approach, achieve, remedy, trigger, annex


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. What do you think about Airbnb's plan?

2. Have you ever used Airbnb before?

3. Is Airbnb popular in your country?

4. When you travel, what kind of accomodation do you usually choose? Why?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.