Palestinians launch postcodes in assertion of sovereignty | Occupied West Financial institution Information
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced on Sunday that it would use its own zip codes to facilitate delivery of packages in the occupied territories and enforce sovereignty.
International mail sent to or from the Occupied West Bank must currently go through Jordan or Israel. In both cases, mail destined for the Occupied West Bank must be cleared by Israel, which controls the entry of goods and customs into the Occupied Territory.
But the PA said on Sunday that it had asked the Universal Postal Union to notify its member states of the entry into force of the Palestinian postcodes.
According to the PA, the zip code project would help establish a Palestinian addressing system that would facilitate the Palestinian postal service and would be an integral part of an infrastructure that would enable the public and private sectors to provide services in a manner that is geographically dependent.
“As of April, mail that does not have a Palestinian zip code will no longer be processed,” Palestinian Communications Minister Ishaq Sidr told reporters in Ramallah, the occupied headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
“It’s about asserting Palestinian rights,” he said, adding that zip codes would improve package delivery services, mail sorting, logistics services, and emergency and ambulance services.
Palestinian zip codes would also help end the seizure of shipments from abroad, Sidr said.
He said six tons of packages had been withheld in Jordan since 2018 and accused Israel of obstructing deliveries.
The use of postcodes “will prevent Israel from confiscating postal items coming into Palestine and will help make the service more efficient,” Imad al-Tumayzi, director of international relations at the Palestinian Post, told AFP .
“In 2020, we recorded more than 7,000 breaches of postal equipment on the Israeli side, whether by opening parcels, seizing them or summoning their owners for investigation,” he said.
In 2008, Israel agreed to give the Palestinian postal services more autonomy, meaning that some international mail could be flown to Jordan and then transferred to the Palestinian territories.
The deal appeared to be stalled, however, resulting in a huge mail jam in 2010 that resulted in mail – letters, packages, and even a wheelchair – being stuck in Jordan for eight years before Israel finally processed them to move to the occupied West Bank to enter.
At the time, a Palestinian post officer working at Jericho’s post office told AFP that the items appeared to have been blocked by Israel for security or administrative reasons.
Palestinians have complained that they are forced to use expensive private courier services to send or receive packages.
However, it was not clear whether applying postcodes would reduce shipping costs.
Official PA news agency Wafa said around half a million buildings in the occupied West Bank have already been given zip codes.
The roll-out will soon be extended to the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.
In the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian postal worker who did not wish to be named told AFP that the new postcodes were “more symbolic than practical”.
“The zip code can only really be implemented if the Palestinian Authority controls ports or airports,” he said.
The occupied West Bank between Israel and Jordan does not have an operational civil airport.