Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement Sunday to upgrade the postal service system in the West Bank.
Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), and the Palestinian Authority’s Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh signed a memorandum of understanding to allow international mail to enter the PA directly without first going through the Israeli mail service.
The agreement was intended to assist the transfer of international mail to the PA through Jordan via the Allenby Bridge border crossing. The memorandum will also improve the direct mail transfer between Israel and the PA.
Until now all mail entering the Palestinian Authority had to first go through the Israeli postal services, according to the Palestinian news agency Maan.
Israel and the PA signed a similar agreement in 2008 but it was never put into practice. This time, COGAT said, the memorandum will be put into effect.
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.
At the time Israel denied that there was any censorship or delay to the mail bound for the PA. A spokesperson for the Israel Postal Company said that only mail sent to and from the Gaza Strip was subject to special security checks.