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Airbnb, PayPal, Hewlett-Packard Are Tangled In Israeli Settlement Controversy

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Bay Area companies do a lot of business in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and could face significant backlash for doing so.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his farewell speech at the State Department saying the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine is in jeopardy.

Kerry also defended the Obama administration's decision to allow a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech a great disappointment and says he ignored Palestinian violence.

With the passage of the U.N. resolution, Bay Area companies working in the West Bank find themselves smack in the middle of the controversy.

The U.N. vote to condemn Israel's settlements in the Palestinian West Bank could make some American companies think twice about doing business there.

That's what Ellen Brotsky hopes. She's from the Bay Area Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.

"One good thing about the resolution is it does put pressure on these companies that profess to have policies of democracy and social justice…it puts them on the spot because what they're doing in Palestine is not in line with those principles," Brotsky said.

Jewish Voice for Peace has led boycotts against Hewlett-Packard, which develops the ID card Israelis use at the West Bank checkpoints.

Brotsky has also supported petition drives against PayPal for providing services to Israeli settlers, but not Palestinians.

Airbnb also could face backlash.

"For instance, Airbnb rents houses but doesn't say it's Palestinian territories. It says it's in Israel, which is clearly wrong," Brotsky said.

American companies in the West Bank may be looking ahead and past President Obama's administration, just like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who blasted the U.N. resolution and the Secretary Kerry's speech.

"Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians is against the Jewish state for nearly a century," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu says he's counting the days till President-elect Donald Trump takes office in three weeks.

Trump had urged President Obama to veto the U.N. resolution condemning Israel.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu tweeted Trump, thanking him for his "warm friendship" and "clear-cut support of Israel."

We reached out to the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco and several companies, including Airbnb, PayPal, and Hewlett-Packard, but received no response.

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