The Palestinian Authority has welcomed the news that that Israel has failed in its bid for re-election to the Council of Administration of the Universal Postal Union (UPU); Israel was a member for the past four years. "This," said the PA's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, "is a victory for Palestine in general and for the Gaza Strip in particular." The PA pointed out that Israel has imposed a suffocating siege on Gaza for seven years and prevented the flow of mail from the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the outside world.
The ministry said that it has pleaded to the UPU several times to intervene and lift the restrictions imposed on Palestinian mail, and to commit Israel to show respect for international conventions and treaties on the freedom of mail transfers and the prevention of mail searches, seizures and delays. "However, our calls have fallen on deaf ears, and the Israeli occupation authorities continue to impose restrictions on mail and violate its privacy, causing material and psychological losses for Palestinians."
The loss of its membership of the UPU Council is a price that Israel has to pay in return for its crimes against Palestinian mail and communication sector, said the ministry in a press statement. "This is further proof of the international isolation that the occupation now faces."
The statement expressed the ministry's hope that the newly-elected UPU Council – which includes Qatar and Egypt – succeeds in having Israeli restrictions on Palestinian mail lifted. It also called on the Council of Administration to take the bold step to have mail sent directly to the Occupied Palestinian Territories without passing through Israeli hands.
Qatar was elected to head the UPU Council of Administration; of the 40 Council members, five are Arab states: Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Seven Arab countries were elected onto the UPU's Investment Council: Egypt, Qatar, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Tunisia and the UAE.