Israel has allowed over ten tons of Palestinian mail that has been held in Jordan since 2010 to be transferred into the West Bank for delivery, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said Thursday.
COGAT, Israel's chief liaison office with the Palestinians, said the one-time transfer was a “gesture” that “went beyond the letter of the law” as negotiations to resolve the issue are underway.
“About a year ago, an in-principle agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The memorandum of understanding has not yet resulted in a direct transfer, and the subject is in the advanced stages of being worked through. There is therefore no direct mail transfer at this time,” COGAT said in a statement.
“However, as a gesture, and in a step that went beyond the letter of the law, COGAT, with the assistance of the Ministry of Communications and the Customs Authority, allowed a one-time transfer of approximately ten and a half tons of mail that had been held in Jordan,” the statement concluded.
Hussein Sawafta, director of the Palestinian postal service, said that Israel held up the mail because it was not properly addressed to the Israeli postal service. Sawafta said the mail was released last week and workers are now sorting through mounds of letters and packages.
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Israel collects service fees on Palestinian mail and forbids direct mail to the Palestinian postal service.