Break the siege of Bethlehem’s Post Office this Christmas Season
Did you know it takes on an average 2 months for mails from Bethlehem to reach its destination? While from Jerusalem it takes between 8 to 15 days.
According to Palestinian Minister, he blames Israeli foot-dragging on agreement for direct delivery; Palestine manages its own postal services but all letters pass through Israel. The Palestinian minister mentioned that Israel has failed to implement a 2008 agreement that would let the PA have direct postal relations with the rest of the world.
The minister added that Israel is deliberately disrupting Palestinian mail services, causing Palestinian postal services losses of over $200,000 a month, and shaken the confidence of Palestinians in their postal services.
Palestine manages its own postal services and has issued postage stamps since 1995, but all mail to and from the Palestinian-ruled West Bank and Gaza Strip passes through Israel. In 2008, the two sides pledged to work to facilitate direct mail exchanges for Palestine through Amman, Jordan and after many meetings between the sides achieved no results.
In 2009, the Postal Service of Palestine was awarded an International Mail Processing Center Code by the Universal Postal Union. This designation allows the Palestine Postal Service to send and receive mail directly to and from other postal services around the world, rather than having to go through Israel. Unfortunately, such legitimization has not improved the situation, to postal officials in Ramallah, who note that local deliveries within the West Bank are made promptly, but that Israel still controls international mail into and out of the occupied territories.
As part of a series of agreements signed in the wake of the Oslo accords, both sides must ensure "the efficient transmission and delivery of postal items arriving from, or destined for foreign countries." But Palestinian Minister said that Israeli security checks affected the timely delivery of Palestinian mail to and from the Palestinian territories.
"We have nothing against security checks," he said. "We suggested picking up the mail at the border crossing with Jordan, transferring it to the Israelis for a security check and picking it up, but they refused. They insist on complete freedom to check the mail as they wish, with no time constraints."
Israel wanted Bethlehem’s economy to be 'functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.
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