Israel controls all goods coming in and out of the Palestinian territories, and the Israeli Postal Service sorts mail destined for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Ten tons of letters and packages, which Israel had long prevented from reaching Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, have finally been delivered. Some of the pieces are 8 years old.
The mail, held in Jordan, began being released to the Palestinian Authority on Monday, according to a statement from Palestinian officials. Some of it was badly damaged after the yearslong delay.
Israel controls all goods coming in and out of the Palestinian territories, and the Israeli Postal Service sorts mail destined for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Goods are regularly blocked from entering the areas, more strictly for Gaza, on what Israel describes as security grounds.
A 2016 agreement was intended to allow mail to be received directly by the Palestinian postal service, but it was never fully implemented.
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Still, Israel has for years maintained that international mail is delivered to the Palestinian Authority promptly, and for years the Palestinian Authority has disputed that claim.
Allam Moussa, the minister of communications and information technology for the Palestinian Authority, said the seized mail included items “coming from around the world, carrying packages, gifts and purchases that did not arrive on time because of the regrettable refusal of the Israeli side.”
The release came after long negotiations with Israel, and Jordan played an instrumental part in getting the mail to its destination, Moussa said.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the branch of the Israeli Defense Forces responsible for civilian operations in the Palestinian territories, said in a statement that the delivery was a goodwill measure.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, signed an agreement last year to limit the seizures of mail delivery to the area, the agency said in a statement.