Ma'an News Agency
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestine was allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) following successful talks with the International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced Wednesday.

Head of the Mission to the union Mahmoud Diwan said the move would help guarantee the independence of the Palestinian postal system when it is re-launched, and make it distinct from the Israeli system. Currently, mail destined for the West Bank and Gaza from international locations must be posted “care of” or “via” Israel. Only when couriering packages within the West Bank or from the West Bank to Gaza is labeling “Palestine” acceptable.

“The Universal Postal Union has taken a series of decisions and steps that aim to facilitate the exchange of direct mail between Palestine and other countries,” Diwan said on his return from the meetings.

The UPU, a UN body since 1948, said the adoption of the Palestinian postal codes would give Palestine access to the development funds and expertise of the organization, according to Diwan.

Regulations of the body say “any member of the United Nations may accede to the UPU. Sovereign countries that are not members of the UN may also become members of the UPU provided that their requests are approved by at least two-thirds of the member countries of the Union.”

Being granted a postal code by the UPU is the first step in becoming a full member.

Diwan noted the UPU also approved a technical cooperation program aimed at improving the Palestinian postal services, which will include the training of staff and development of an independent system of mail transport and delivery.

More than the regulation of post and delivery to Palestinian addresses directly from all over the world without Israeli intervention, Diwan said, the development of a Palestinian postal system will generate revenue for the state. Money made by the system for the first several years would be re-invested into the development and expansion of services.

The resolution by the UPU comes in addition to a national track prepared by the ministry, Diwan said, which would see the activation of some sectors of the postal service in the coming weeks.

Officials within the ministry will continue to work with the UPU, Diwan noted.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017