I travel frequently to Palestine. Usually, I avoid tourist attractions but last year I decided to make a short trip to the Dead Sea. Searching for a place to stay, I checked the travel website Booking.com.
Immediately, I felt uneasy. Could some of the hotels it had listed be located in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank?
Rather than making a reservation, I drove to one of these hotels. Although the address given for the Kalia Kibbutz Hotel on Booking.com indicates that it is inside present-day Israel, the truth is quite different. It can be found within Kalia, a settlement in the West Bank that is one of the main shareholders in the cosmetics company Ahava.
The settlement is located within a gated village. This means that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The hotel had few guests when I called. But the deceptive details on Booking.com could easily lead unsuspecting tourists to think they are staying inside Israel, when in reality they are in an illegal colony. more