SHAFAQNA- Amnesty International has called on TripAdvisor to urgently remove its listings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), as the number of Israeli settlements rises in number and send a clear message that it will no longer contribute to human rights violations.
The UN issued a report last week, showing that a clearly marked occupation of Palestinian land is increasing at a record pace. Meanwhile more than 100 companies including TripAdvisor are continuing to do business with settlements, siding with the abusive policies of the Israeli government and ignoring the suffering of Palestinians. With a sharp increase in settlement expansion underway, and persistent attacks on Palestinians and their properties by some Israeli settlers, the holiday booking site must not “legitimise settlements by doing business in them”, according to an Amnesty statement released.
TripAdvisor has failed to update its policies
“Israeli settlements violate international law and amount to war crimes. Companies which operate in the settlements are contributing to human rights violations and tacitly supporting Israel’s policy of forcing Palestinians out of their homes and crushing their basic rights,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It is shameful that TripAdvisor has failed to update its policies, even as Israel forges ahead with increasingly aggressive land grabs that will intensify the suffering of Palestinians. TripAdvisor must comply with its responsibility to respect human rights and refrain from contributing to war crimes.”
Amnesty International has submitted a petition to TripAdvisor’s CEO Stephen Kaufer, signed by more than 300,000 people from around the world, calling on the company to pull out of illegal settlements. The company has not responded to Amnesty International’s requests for comment. In 2019 Amnesty International documented how digital tourism companies fuel and profit from war crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians by promoting attractions on illegally occupied land.
Earlier this year the UN published a database listing more than 100 companies with business links to settlements, including TripAdvisor. Listed companies which continue their involvement in settlements are knowingly breaching their international obligations to “avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities and address such impacts when they occur”.
Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal under international law
Since 1967 tens of thousands of Palestinian properties have been demolished and whole communities forcibly displaced to make way for illegal settlements. Natural resources have been diverted and appropriated to settlements, which flourish while Palestinians communities face systematic and institutionalized human rights violations. International law is clear that establishing settlements in occupied territory is illegal and constitutes a war crime, and the international community has long opposed these violations. Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal under international law, particularly international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and contravenes Security Council resolutions.
According to the Fourth Geneva Convention reflective of customary international law, any kind of transfer of the Occupying Power’s population to the occupied territory is prohibited, regardless of whether the transfer was voluntary or forced, Diakonia mentioned. By continuing to do business with settlements TripAdvisor is siding with the abusive policies of the Israeli government and the Trump administration, ignoring the suffering of Palestinians, and going against international law.