Middle East

Palestinian mail held in Jordan arrives eight years late

Palestinian postal workers sift through sacks of previously undelivered mail in the West Bank city of Jericho, 14 August 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of sacks of mail have finally reached the West Bank

Packages, letters and even a wheelchair intended for Palestinians have arrived in the occupied West Bank after Israel released years of undelivered mail.

The post, which includes internet orders that never arrived, had been held in Jordan since 2010 and was released under a one-time agreement.

Palestinian postal workers in the city of Jericho are now faced with sorting through more than 10 tonnes of goods.

An official told AFP it would take another two weeks to sort and deliver.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some of the post, such as this item sent from Morocco in 2015, had been held for years

Ramadan Ghazawi, who works at the post office in Jericho, said the items appeared to have been blocked on security or administrative grounds.

Israel controls entry to the West Bank via the border with Jordan.

In 2008, Israel agreed more autonomy for Palestinian postal services, meaning some international mail could be flown to Jordan and then transferred to the Palestinian territories. But the deal and subsequent agreements appeared to falter, creating a huge postal backlog.

In a statement, Palestinian Authority Communications Minister Allam Moussa accused Israel of having failed to implement a memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 designed to regulate the transfer of international mail.

The Israeli military's Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat) told AFP that an agreement was in the works but gave no further details.

Update 20 August 2018: The article has been updated to make reference to the 2008 postal agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Correction 25 September 2018: The headline has been changed to avoid the impression of apportioning blame for the failure to deliver the mail, which was held up in Jordan owing to an unresolved dispute.

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