The Netherlands is investigating Booking for renting out properties in Israeli settlements

Booking.com

Dutch prosecutors are considering criminal charges against accommodation rental platform Bukling for advertising properties in Israeli neighborhoods. Dutch non-profit organization SOMO said it filed a complaint with the state prosecutor in November along with three other human rights groups, but that it had not been previously announced.

In the complaint, the groups accuse the platform of "profiting from war crimes by facilitating the rental of vacation homes on land stolen from the indigenous Palestinian population." Prosecutors are investigating the complaint but have not given a timeframe for a decision, spokeswoman Brecje van de Musdijk said.

Booking said it disagreed with the allegations and that there were no laws banning the advertising of accommodation facilities in Israeli settlements, while a series of US laws would prohibit disinvestment in the region. "Legal steps have been taken against other companies that have tried to withdraw their activities, and we would expect the same to happen in our case," a company spokesman said.

SOMO reported that its research showed that the Booking.com platform offered up to 70 properties in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank between 2021 and 2023. The organization claims that the money received from the rental of these properties is "proceeds of criminal activity" and that by registering these proceeds in the Netherlands, the company is violating the country's anti-money laundering laws.

Settlements built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war are considered illegal by most countries, including the Netherlands. Their presence is one of the fundamental difficulties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli colonists refer to the historical connection of Jews to the area.

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