The major online booking and traveling platforms have come under fire in the latest report by Amnesty International. The human rights organisation claims that by listing accommodation offerings for settlements in the West Bank, the companies are helping Israel to «exploit land and natural resources that belong to Palestinians».
Two online booking platforms, namely Trip Advisor and Booking.com, have already responded to the accusations made in Amnesty International’s report, stressing that their work is not determined by any political stance.
In a written comment to Sputnik, TripAdvisor noted that the service provides tourists with «an apolitical, accurate and useful picture of all accommodations, restaurants and attractions» that can be found around the world. While acknowledging the sensitivity of the matter in the case of the West Bank in terms of politics, the company stated that the listing of a property or business in the West Bank on its website does not represent an «endorsement of that establishment» by TripAdvisor.
Booking.com told Sputnik that it strives to «empower people to experience the world» by providing information about all local the accommodations that «are in compliance with applicable laws». The service added that the information represented on its website also complies with all local laws.
At the same time, TripAdvisor stated that its practices rely on «travel industry and Internet search standards», noting that it monitors ongoing changes in order to «deliver a consistent experience to all users across the globe».
Earlier, Amnesty International published a report in which it claimed that online booking giants such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor have been aiding Israel in its politics of «legitimizing the existence and expansion of settlements» in the West Bank, which is considered occupied territory by the UN. The group also accused the companies of exploiting «land and natural resources that belong to Palestinians».
Amnesty International has urged online booking services to stop listing accommodations located in the West Bank and to «stand up for human rights», claiming that most of their customers remain oblivious to the fact that the land they are visiting is considered «occupied».