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Airbnb removes Israeli West Bank settlement listings

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Airbnb says it will remove from its listings all homes in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The US firm said it had made the decision because settlements were at the "core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians".

The move has been welcomed by Palestinians but Israel has called it "shameful" and threatened legal action.

The West Bank settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Airbnb has previously been criticised by Palestinian officials and human rights campaigners for allowing listings of homes to rent in Israeli settlements.

A statement from the company said: "US law permits companies like Airbnb to engage in business in these territories.

"At the same time, many in the global community have stated that companies should not do business here because they believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced."

Following an evaluation, it said: "We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians."

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said it was "crucial for Airbnb to follow the position of international law that Israel is the occupying power and that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including occupied east Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute war crimes".

But Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said Airbnb's decision was "the most wretched of wretched capitulations to the boycott efforts".

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