The establishment of the Palestinian Authority post

Dr. Josef Wallach [ Hebrew Website ]

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Israel’s closure of postal services as part of Oslo -A- accord


Israel post began operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967 , shortly after the Six Day War .As part of the return to normal civilian life . Post offices were opened in major towns , and than gradually expanded to smaller localities . In 1994 localities had been transmitted to the jurisdiction of the Palestine Authority , together with the responsibility for the postal services . Israel post stopped at the prescribed time the service to residents , closed the post offices and handed their responsibility and operation to the Pal. Auth. This article will present the main activities carried out by Israel post during the evacuation of post offices as part of the Oslo -A- agreement .

Oslo -A-

The first step in the establishment of the Pal. Auth. , Was the formulating of the Oslo -A- accords - which was gradually agreed during the first half of 1994 . The agreement transferred to the Pal. Auth. all Arab communities in the Gaza Strip and in addition the town of Jericho in the West Bank . The process of formulating the agreement was long and difficult , and during which many crises occurred - often putting in doubt the ability to finish it successfully . The uncertainty which accompanied each stage in the implementation of the Oslo autonomy plan , was reflected in the closing stages of Israel’s post in the Gaza strip and Jericho . Israel’s intention was to transfer the post offices as a living body to allow regular and immediate activation of all postal services by the Pal. Auth. . However it had not happened. Palestinians sought first and foremost to disengage as quickly as possible from the sponsor of the Israeli government and it’s working methods , preferring to be responsible for the post offices even though they were not prepared yet to operate them . For this reason the post offices actually closed on the date of entry into force of , the. autonomy agreements causing postal activities paralyzed .

Closing Israeli post offices in the Gaza Strip

Collection of Israeli postmarks
On may. 4.1994 Yitzhak Rabin ,prime minister of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, head of the Pal. Auth. signed in Cairo , the autonomy agreements . On that same day , the Israeli Superviser on postal affairs in Gaza Strip ( Mr. Farber) ordered to collect all postmarks from postal units in the area . He remembered the riots and chaos that broke out in El Arish in 1982 , in the last day before evacuation of Sinai and the delivery of the area to the Egyptian Government, which prevented the possibility of evacuating equipment in order from the town . Thus his decision on immediate collecting all postmarks from post offices in the Gaza Strip . All postmarks (besides three which will be discussed later) were brought to the office of the Superviser , which was now located at the administrative camp center near the Erez border checkpoint . Between 5-16 of May the postmarks were not used . They returned to be used, for one day , on 17th of May 1994 , the date which was officially announced as the LAST DAY of Israel post in Gaza Strip . After May.4.1994 remained in use throughout the Gaza Strip only three postmarks :
Gaza- 11- postmark
The postmark continued to be used at the sorting center in Gaza town Head office . The last day of this device was 10.May.94 , when it too returned to the Superviser office . It returned to be used for one day on 17.May.94 the LAST DAY .
Gaza -8- postmark
The postmark entered into use at the postal agency of the Israeli civilian government of Gaza strip ,operating in the northern Gaza Strip area which was not delivered to the Pal. Auth. and remained under Israeli military (Zaha”l) government . It returned to be used on the 17.May.94 the LAST DAY . .
Gaza -Industrial centre postmark
This postmark entered into use at the postal agency located in the camp near Erez checkpoint which operated on the northern border of the Gaza Strip , and remained under Israeli jurisdiction . This device was probably used for few additional days . It returned to final use on the LAST DAY namely 17.May.1994 .
Opening new post offices in the Gaza Strip
Shortly after start of the Oslo -A- agreement , and the Israeli evacuation of post offices in the Gaza Strip , Israel opened two new branches at the northern part of Gaza Strip ( The administrative camp) . Actually it was only the change of names of offices which operated continuously . These postal agencies provided in large extent the answer to the inability of the Pal Auth. post to supply postal services to their population . Outgoing post was channelled privately by couriers to the Israeli agencies mentioned above or to the nearest town Town of Ashqelon in Israel .
Mevo (=entrance) Gaza
The name of the postal facility at the civil adm. camp which formerly carried the postmark Gaza-8- was changed into "MEVO GAZA”

(Notice to the public from 3.May.1994) [Link 1]

The new postmark was introduced on 1. Jun.1994 .
Mevo (=entrance) Gaza -1-
The post office which formerly used the "Gaza- Industrial centre” postmark got a new device on 1.Aug.94 named " MEVO (=entrance) Gaza -1-” The post office operated consecutively , even w. the lack of postmark . It channelled the mail to Ashqelon post office in Israel .

Closing of Israeli Jericho post office

Postmark collecting
Jericho was the only town in the West Bank which was transffered to the P.A. at under the Oslo -A- agreement , thus closing the Israeli post was simple compared to the Gaza Strip offices . On 9th of May the superviser on posts visited the Jericho post office . He made an inventory list in presence of P.A. official and took the Israeli postmark

(details in attached document) [Link 2]

May 9th was declared as the official LAST DAY of Jericho post office
Opening a new postal agency in the West Bank "ADAM JUNCTION”
On 11.May.1994 the Isr. Milit. Adm. opened a new postal agency north to Jericho , at the junction leading to the Adam Bridge
(See notice to the public of 14.June.94) [Link 3]

(See notice to the public of 3.May.94) [Link 4]
This office was opened to enable postal services to the Jericho area population . On the opening day No postmark was yet available . It reached the agency only on the 25.May.94 . In the interim period a rubber box cachet reading : " Posted at ADAM junction” was stamped on each letter which were carried and posted in the Israeli post at Nablus town .

Cancellation of collectors "LAST DAY” postmarks

Setting the LAST DAY date
The uncertainty that accompanied the signing of the Autonomy agreement , prevented the early publication of the "last Day " of the Israeli Gaza Strip and Jericho offices . Israel Postal Auth. issued a notice to the public on 1.Dec.1993 in which it offered collectors to send their envelopes - ahead of time - toward the unknown but expected "LAST DAY” of offices and their postmarks. Link we canceled [Link 5]

At the begining of May , the "LAST DAY” term was yet unknown (See notice to the public 3.May.94) [Link 6]

only after signing agreement on 4.May.94 it became real . Even though offices did not operate since 4.May.94 it was decided the OFFICIAL LAST DAY will be set fo 17.May.1994 Jericho set the official LAST DAY on 9. May.1994 the actual closure day of this office . .
Preparation of the "LAST DAY” postmarks
Most postmarks collected from postal units were in good shape, to be used for preparation of Collectors "LAST DAY” postmarks . Yet part were broken or heavily worn up . To enable the collectors community to get clear and clean strikes, the Philatelic Services prepared "new” copies of all instruments from the closed offices . These postmarks were made of casted rubber , for a one day use : 17.May.1994 . In addition , philatelic service offered a series of 22 official "LAST DAY” envelopes with the LAST DAY cancellations .

(See notice to the public) [Link 7]

The postmarks on those offered set of envelopes ( and also dealers requests for such) were all PRINTED by printing press , thus all strikes were of excellent quality clear and clean Specialist researcher thus can find x3 (three !) different types of the official last day postmarks :

1.Original metal device , collected at the post offices (w. changing date option) ) . [Link 8]
2. Rubber casted postmarks , prepared for hand cancellation of envelopes .(fixed date) [Link 9]
3. Machine Press PRINTED strikes prepared for mass production of envelopes(fixed date) . [Link 10]

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