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Palestinians: Postal Services

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what restrictions there are on (a) mail and (b) gifts being sent from the UK to people in (i) the West Bank and (ii) Gaza. (264761)

There are no restrictions specific to mail or gifts originating in the UK. Incoming mail destined for the Occupied Palestinian Territories must be routed via Israel. It will be subject to security checks. Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff, living in Gaza and the West Bank report that it will take small envelopes several weeks to arrive from an international address. Some of this period of time may also be accounted for by the inefficiency of the Palestinian Authority’s own mail service.

For parcels sent to the West Bank, the security checking process can last up to two months and many West Bankers now arrange for larger mail items to be sent to addresses in east Jerusalem and then delivered on by friends or relatives. Parcels destined for Gaza can be held up for several months and few individuals or organisations inside Gaza would now use this as a means to send items into the Gaza strip.