Amnesty International is urging TripAdvisor employees “to use their power to demand that their company stops profiting from war crimes by listing tourist attractions and properties in illegal Israeli settlements across the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)”.
According to a press release from the international human rights group on Monday, Amnesty has addressed TripAdvisor staff in an open letter, highlighting the way in which “the settlements have had a devastating impact on the human rights of Palestinians”.
“Tens of thousands of homes” have been “demolished and large numbers of Palestinians forcibly displaced to make way for their [the settlements] construction, in flagrant violation of international law, since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967,” Amnesty added.
In January, Amnesty International published “Destination: Occupation”, “an investigation into the way online booking companies are driving tourism to illegal Israeli settlements and contributing to their expansion, maintenance, and normalization.”
The report concluded that TripAdvisor “lists more than 70 different attractions, tours, restaurants, cafes, hotels and rental apartments in settlements across the OPT.”
The new open letter was shared with TripAdvisor staff follows the company’s response to the January report, in which it suggested “that the company had no responsibility to stop advertising activities in or with Israeli settlements or other listings that violate international law”.
According to Mark Dummett, head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty, “Israel’s policy of settling Israeli citizens on stolen Palestinian land in occupied territory is a war crime.”
“By promoting tourism in these illegal settlements, TripAdvisor is helping boost their economies and contributing to the immense suffering of Palestinians who have been uprooted from their land, had their homes destroyed and their natural resources plundered for settlement use.”
Amnesty, which has long documented the impact of illegal settlements, highlighted that the very existence of the colonies has mean the imposition of “a system of institutionalized discrimination and human rights violations against Palestinians making their daily lives a struggle”.
“We urge everyone working for TripAdvisor to stand up for human rights and join us in demanding that the company removes all its listings in settlements and of settlement-related attractions in the OPT,” Amnesty concluded. “War crimes are not a tourist attraction.”