Palestine wins the right to direct international postal exchanges

Palestinian postal worker shows an undelivered mail blocked by Israel for years at the Palestinian central international exchange post office in Jericho, West Bank (Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 28, 2020

The UN Universal Postal Union has recognised Palestine’s right to have direct postal exchange with the world through Jordan without any restrictions imposed.

Following the UPU council meeting in Bern, Switzerland, discussing solutions aimed at improving the operations and quality of the Palestine’s postal services, the Palestinian government announced the right for free international postal exchanges.

The Palestinian postal service has been largely dysfunctional as mail deliveries to the Israeli-occupied West Bank must pass through international crossings and borders before reaching the Palestinian territory, and are often subject to long delays.

Israel controls all entrances and exits to the occupied West Bank and can prevent goods passing through as it sees fit.

Palestinian officials say such controls cripple their economy and freedom of movement.

In a press statement yesterday, the Palestinian government said the UPU council meeting will support Palestine’s postage services through developmental projects.

Palestine has been given an observer status of the UN’s UPU since 1999. In 2008, it stated that it was entitled to collection of mail related revenues, but this was never put into practice.

In 2011, in protest over the delayed implementation of the agreement, the PA threatened to stop sending and receiving mail through Israel. Then Palestinian Communications Minister Mashhour Abu-Daqqa claimed that failure to implement the agreement was costing the Palestinian postal services over $200,000 a month. However, a spokesperson for the Israel Postal Company said that only mail sent to and from the Gaza Strip was subject to special security checks.