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Booking.com Adds Safety Advice to West Coast properties According to Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the construction of the Israeli settlement of Ramat Givat Zeev in the occupied West Bank November 19, 2019. REUTERS / Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Online travel agency Booking (NASDAQ:). Com added the safety label to listings in the occupied West Bank, which Israel, initially opposed to the move, applauded for not picking out Jewish settlements.

The move was criticized by Palestinian officials, who said the advice should only be used for Israeli settlements.

The company now posts an advisory on its website when clients search for West Bank properties in both Palestinian cities as well as Israeli settlements, which most countries around the world consider to be illegal. The note recommends that customers review their government’s travel advice for the area “possibly considered to be affected by conflict”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that after a “confidential and productive” dialogue with the company’s management, and despite concerns that the West Bank and Israeli-owned assets could be separated out, there is no such distinction.

The department said the new sign would be used in about 40 disputed areas of the world and applied to the entire West Coast as a “single geographic unit”.

Booking.com did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Abu Youssef, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Booking.com’s failure to distinguish between Palestinian property and property in Israeli settlements was “unacceptable”.

Youssef said non-discrimination was “contrary to humanitarian and international law”.

The West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war, is one of the territories where Palestinians seek statehood. Israel describes the West Bank as a defensive wall and biblical copyright.

Violence in the West Bank has increased in recent months after Israel stepped up air strikes on the territory following a series of deadly attacks on the streets of Palestinians in Israel.



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