- Postage stamps and postal history of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authoritybegan in 1994 to issue stamps and operate postal services as authorized by the Oslo Accords.
Starting in 1994-5, the
Palestinian National Authority(PNA) established post offices throughout the PNA, developed its own unique postmarkscite web | last = Zywietz | first = Tobias | title = PNA Post Offices and Postmarks | work = A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine | date = 2007-09-28 | url = http://www.zobbel.de/stamp/pna_11.htm | accessdate = 2008-02-07 ] and issued stamps. In its first decade, the PNA expanded from 49 to 82 post offices (1994-2004). It provides a range of mailing services and issued its first stamp booklets in 2000.
In 1999, the PNA and Israel agreed that PNA mail could be sent directly to Egypt and Jordan. [Najat Hirbawi, ed. "Chronology of Events." "Palestine-Israel Journal" 6:4 1999] Earlier, the PNA had claimed that Israel had violated its agreements regarding postal service by impeding mail to
Egyptand Jordan.citation|title="Palestinian National Authority lists Israeli 'violations' of agreements"|newspaper=Al-Nahar (Arabic), Jerusalem|date= 15 July 1996The postal services allegation is number 11.] When mail addressed to Arab countries could not be delivered, it was marked with a "no service" cachet because it could not be forwarded. The lack of forwarding has been due apparently to Israeli policy and the Arab boycott. cite web | last = Zywietz | first = Tobias | title = The Postal Situation (1994--) | work = A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine | date = 2007-09-28 | url = http://www.zobbel.de/stamp/pna_poste.htm | accessdate = 2008-02-07 ] At times, The PNA's Ministry of Telecom & Information Technology issued a critical report on postal services in areas under Israeli control. In 2002, the minister of PNA Post and Telecommunications, Imad al-Faluji, claimed that Israel had destroyed its post offices in Gaza.citation|title=Palestinian ministers detail damage caused by Israel; face deputies' criticism|newspaper=BBC Worldwide Monitoring|date= May 1 2002]
The PNA does not have
postcodesor addressing rules, which would help automate and improve delivery services.citation|last2 = UPU International Bureau|title = Mobilizing resources to develop Arab countries' posts|year = 2007|pages = 29|publisher = Universal Postal Union|url = http://www.upu.int/development_cooperation/en/rdp_arab_countries_en.pdf]
Recognition of PNA postal authority
The PNA is authorized to manage postal operations, issue stamps and
postal stationery, and set rates, under agreements signed between Israel and the PNA following the Oslo Accords. The agreements specifically regulate the wording that can be used on the stamps issued, specifying that they "shall include only the terms 'the Palestinian Council' or 'the Palestinian Authority.'"Kassim, 1995, p. 348.]
The first PNA stamps, printed by German state printer "Bundesdruckerei Berlin", used the currency designation "mils" (which was the currency of the
British Mandate of Palestinebetween 1927 and 1948). Israel protested over this issue, and all early stamps issued in 1994 had to be overprinted with "fils" (1/1000 of a Jordanian dinar), as illustrated by the souvenir sheet shown. A Palestinian newspaper, " The Jerusalem Times", broke the story of the mils mistake on the stamps.citation|last2 = Walker|first2 = Christopher|title = Arafat licked by muddle over postage stamps|journal = The Times|date = December 13|year = 1994]
Initially, PNA stamps were recognized only by Arab states, according to the PNA minister of post and telecommunications.citation|title = Palestinian National Authority begins using its first postage stamp|journal = BBC Summary of World Broadcasts (Nexis)|date = February 25| year = 1995]
Israel approved of PNA postage, following disputes over the currency designation, in November 1995. Direct mail service with Jordan is said to have resumed in 2007.citation| title = Postal services resume between Jordan, Palestinianterritories| journal = The Jordan Times -- English| date = March 15|year = 2007] Deliveries between the PNA and foreign countries are made through commercial agreements with Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. The
Universal Postal Unionand its member countries generally do not recognize stamps issued by entities that have not achieved full independence, such as the lands controlled in the Gaza Stripand West Bankby the PNA. Indeed, its accord with Israel (Article 29) stipulates that the PNA's lack of membership in the Universal Postal Unionwould not change, nor would the PNA seek to change its status. The UPU and PNA do maintain relations (see picture). Nonetheless, it has become clear that the stamps issued by the PNA were functioning for postal activities within Palestine and for international postal communications. According to the "New York Times", the doubts of stamp collectors were removed by the listing of the PNA in philatelic catalogs. cite web|title=Philatelic Diplomacy: Palestinians Join Collectors' List|author=Barth Healey|date= July 19 1998|accessdate=2008-02-09|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E03E1D71330F93AA25754C0A96E958260] Accordingly, collectors are analyzing not only stamps but also such matters as Palestinian postmarks and tariffs.
Besides their postal role, post offices have played a pivotal role in political affairs for Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In 1996 and 2006, Israeli post offices in
East Jerusalemserved as voting stations for Palestinian elections. citation| title = Israel says Palestinians in Jerusalem permitted to vote in upcoming election| journal = Xinhua General News Service| date = January 10| year = 2006] citation| title = Facts and figures for second ever Palestinian presidential election| journal = Agence France Presse -- English| date = January 6|year = 2005]
Postage stamps issued
In 1994, the PNA's stamps featured the
Palestinian flag, architectural scenes, and a souvenir sheet a commemorativeof the Gaza-Jericho Agreement. It also issued a series of six official mailstamps.
In 1995, due to pressure from Israel, the 1994 designs were reissued with an overprint of "fils" as the currency; for example, see the Gaza-Jericho souvenir sheet pictured.
PNA stamps have honored various individuals:
Yasser Arafat(1996), the visiting Pope John Paul II(1996), German politician Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski(1997), Mother Teresa(1997), U.S. President Bill Clintonsigning the Wye River Memorandum, French President Jacques Chirac, and artist Ibrahim Hazimeh, whose fours works appear on a souvenir sheet (2001).
The PNA also has commemorated anniversaries of the
Arab Leaguewith a souvenir sheet, philatelic exhibitions with landscape photographs placed in gutter blocks honoring (1996), a series and sheet for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the return of Hong Kongto China (1997), the first elections within the PNA (a 1996 souvenir sheet), the opening of the Gaza airport, and the PNA's admission to the United Nations(1998). The PNA produced three stamps with inset reproductions of Mandate stamps.
The PNA also issues annual Christmas stamps, such as a nativity scene series on a souvenir sheet (1996).
Themes chosen for PNA stamps include: two series of
Palestinian costumes(1997, 2002), local plants (1996), birds, photographs of 19th century Gazaand Hebron, the Canaanite god Baal, Byzantium era mosaics, butterflies, horses, tales of the Arabian nights, the Graf Zeppelin, cacti (2003), Palestinian universities, folk art (2003). Along its nature themes, stamps were issued with the World Wildlife Fund(2001).
The PNA did not issue any new stamps in 2004 or 2007.
A number of forgeries of PNA stamps have been sold, for instance on
eBay. These illegal stampsinclude a series on chessmasters Kasparovand Karpovcite web|last=Zywietz|first = Tobias|title = Fake Stamps and Forgeries: Chess Champions Garry Kasparov and Anatoly|work =A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine|date=2007-09-28|url=http://www.zobbel.de/stamp/fakes_02.htm|accessdate=2008-02-07] and Pope John Paul II, as pictured here. The authentic PNA stamp of the Pope is shown below.cite web | last = Zywietz | first = Tobias | title = Fake Stamps and Forgeries: Pope John Paul II & Benedict XVI | work = A Short Introduction To The Philately Of Palestine | date = 2007-09-28 | url = http://www.zobbel.de/stamp/fakes_00.htm | accessdate = 2008-02-07 ]
The Scott Publishing Company began incorporating stamps issued by the PNA into its catalogue of worldwide stamps in 1999. The initial listing was for the 77 stamps issued between 1994 and July 1997 and appeared in the July issue of Scott Stamp Monthly, the company's magazine for collectors.
The Philatelic Bureau of the PNA postal administration, selling stamps, FDCs, etc. to collectors is located at the post office in Gaza City. Its address is:
The General Administration of Post, Philatelic Bureau, P.O. Box 5000, GAZA, Palestine ; http://www.mtit.gov.ps/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1&lang=english ; fax: 08-2822846, tel: 08-2829295 ; e-mail: email@example.com
* Kassim, Anis F., ed (1995). " [http://books.google.com/books?id=uJ0gzr5JKLkC&printsec=frontcover&vq=postage&dq=%22universal+postal+union%22+palestinian&source=gbs_summary_r The Palestine Yearbook of International Law] ". Volume 8. Al-Shaybani Society of International Law. Kluwer Law International. ISBN 9041103147
Postal history of Palestine
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