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On pressure from Israel, Airbnb could exclude Western Sahara

The famous California rental platform had committed in a statement, to no longer offer housing located in Israeli settlements, about 200 ads. According to one of its officials, it should apply the same rule to the territory of Western Sahara contested in Morocco by the Polisario Front with the support of Algeria.

An Airbnb official told The Times of Israel that he was determining whether to remove advertisements for the Western Sahara territory from his site two days after they announced that it would remove from its site housing located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The famous rental platform had chosen to anticipate the publication of a report by the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) and was committed in a statement, no longer to offer housing located in Israeli settlements, about 200 ads.

“In the statement we said we have developed a framework to evaluate how we should handle ads in the occupied territories around the world. Western Sahara is one of the places where we will use this framework, “said the official, according to the same source, suggesting that the Californian company could draw a parallel between the situation in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel and the case of Western Sahara whose Moroccan sovereignty is contested by the Polisario Front with the support of Algeria.

Israeli officials, including Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, described Airbnb’s original decision as “racist” and “anti-Semitic,” arguing that it applies a different standard to the Jewish state than to other disputed territories in the world. It is thus following this revolt in Israel that Airbnb yielded on the case of Western Sahara.

The service that is gaining momentum in Morocco is favored by an excellent satisfaction rating. This year, the kingdom has once again ranked among the favorite destinations of Airbnb users, particularly for the tourist experiences attracting more and more travelers, according to its latest report in the margins of its first Africa Travel Summit held in Cape Town, South Africa.

The possible withdrawal of Western Sahara could penalize in the first place the lagoon city of Dakhla which has developed in recent years a seaside and sports tourism (kite-surf) of choice very popular with Airbnb users. To date, 24 rentals are available in the area.

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