West Bank settlers are suing Airbnb over listings ban. Now some Palestinian Americans are suing the settlers.


(JTA) — Palestinians are taking on Israeli settlers in a U.S. court in the flap over Airbnb’s ban on listings in Jewish West Bank settlements.

Two Palestinian Americans and two Palestinian villages in the West Bank have countersued the Jewish Americans who filed a lawsuit against Airbnb over the ban.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the suit on behalf of the Palestinians, says the motion is the first time that Palestinians are directly challenging Israeli settlers in a U.S. court, The Times of Israel reported.

The original lawsuit, Silber et al v. Airbnb Inc., filed in November under the Fair Housing Act, accuses Airbnb of redlining the Jewish-owned properties while continuing to allow Muslim and Christian homeowners to rent theirs, thus the company is also taking sides in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians over West Bank land. It asks the court to prevent Airbnb from discriminating against Jewish homeowners and seeks compensation for lost rental income.

The countersuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Delaware argues that “as the settlements are both unlawful and inherently discriminatory, the plaintiffs are in effect claiming that Airbnb is discriminating against settlers’ ability to dispossess Palestinians and exclude them from their own land.” It says some of the homes are located on land belonging to their clients and they should be compensated.

Airbnb announced in November that it would remove the some 200 listings for rentals in the West Bank, but the listings remain on its website.

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