Online travel agency Booking.com added a warning to its West Bank listings on Friday. The new warning is a small text recommendation at the top of search results, urging customers looking to rent to check government travel advisories before booking in the area.
This applies to both Israeli settlements and Palestinian locales.
Recommendations do not appear in individual listings, only in search results for specific settlements, cities, or towns.
A Booking.com spokeswoman said the company will “roll out banner notifications in more than 30 locations over the next few months to ensure customers have the information they need to make informed decisions about destinations under consideration. Conflict-affected or conflict-affected areas, which may pose greater risks to travelers.”
She added that such banners have already been introduced in Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia.
In a statement Saturday night, the foreign ministry said Booking.com had initially marked the area as “occupied” and intended a much harsher term, saying that the visit would involve “human rights risks”. said.
The ministry claimed credit for the hard work it said it dissuaded the company from using such expressions.
The travel agency announced earlier this month that it would take the step, provoking a backlash from the Israeli government, saying:diplomatic war” In response to the.
Foreign tourism companies such as Airbnb, Booking.com and TripAdvisor have long sparked controversy by allowing West Bank settlers to list their places for rent, but these settlements are international. No mention is made of what is considered to be against the law. From suburban settlements near East Jerusalem annexed by Israel to remote outposts deep in the occupied territories, many rental sites list their locations only as Israel.
About 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians want these lands as part of a future independent state.
Human Rights Watch described Friday’s travel warning as a “welcome step” to prevent customers from unwittingly landing in illegal settlements. But the group urged tourism companies to go further by removing the West Bank listing.
Omar Shakir, director of Israel and Palestine at Human Rights Watch, said: “Companies should stop brokering rentals in illegal settlements in places like the occupied West Bank.”
But the suspension jeopardizes Israeli unrest. Israel and its supporters have denounced those who support the boycott of Israel and anti-Semitic settlements. Airbnb scrapped plans to remove listings in the settlement in 2019 after lawsuits were filed in the US and Israel.