The establishment of the Palestinian Authority post

Dr. Josef Wallach [ Hebrew Website ]

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Where were the official "FIRST DAY” postmarks stamped ?


Towards the end of 1994 , the PA announced that on 1.Jan.1995 the post office operations will resume full capacity , including outgoing mail . Following the issue of postage stamps and preparing appropriate cancellations

(link to the original document) [Link 1]

The announcement was made after months in which the post office system was paralyzed, and treated almost only incoming mai. On 29.Dec.1994 a fax was sent from the central post in Gaza , in which the new postmarks had been revealed . The page included -15- " BRIDGE TYPE” postmarks plus one postage franking machine

(link to the original document) [Link 2]

First Day postmarks

Officials of the P.A. did not issue official covers to note the opening of the various post offices opened on 1.Jan.1995 . However , pre franked envelopes which were sent in advance, were cancelled with the appropriate 1st Day postmark of each office . It is interesting to note , that to my surprise almost no one bothered to ask for such First Day covers! The Pal. postal authority saw the opening a festive occasion of importance . Thus in addition, each envelope carried, besides the postmark, also a decorated " FIrst Day of Issue” cachet .

Where were the First Day covers stamped ?

Examining the First Day envelopes raised the hypothesis that despite the various post offices postmarks imprinted on them, all were cancelled in one spot , probably at the central post office of Gaza. On 1.Jan.1995 the postmarks had not yet been distributed to the different towns and villages. Because of this we find that the "official First Day " of the Pal.l Auth. post office started actively on Jan 10,1995. This date will be termed as the "actual” or "practical” First day of activity. This hypothesis is based on two facts which were revealed on the envelopes :
1. Envelopes which seemingly cancelled in diff. post offices , carried identical "First Day of Issue " decorated cachets . .
2. Comparing the Registration figures which appear on the "FIrst Day” covers with the those pasted on later covers show a consistent and systematic pattern , indicating that the envelopes were prepared at diff. sites ! Both these phenomena will be explained in detail later in this article .

The damaged decorated 1st day cachet

First Day of postmark covers carried two diff. types of of decorated "1st Day of Issue " cachets :
1. A special cachet prepared specifically for the start of Pal Auth. post reading : " First Day of Issue "
2. A cachet originally designated for First Day covers of New issued stamps i.e. " Landscapes” set of stamps . It appears on the German printed FDC and carries the date 1.Sep.1994 . This specific nice cachet carries the image of the Dome of the Rock . At this stage P.A officials noted that the cachet carries an earlier, four months old date . Since the First day was not in September but was supposed to be Jan, 1 1995 they tried to correct the problem by deleting the date of the already stamped 1st day covers with correction fluid (Typex) . In addition , to allow continued use of the cachet, they tried to eliminate the "date” altogether (scratching the metal) . By doing so , the metal cachet was damaged at the round frame , a damage which allows one to identify this specific cachet from others As found on dozens of covers , seemingly from diff. localities. This proves the hypothesis that all "official First Day " 1.Jan.95 had been prepared at one site .

Opening offices First Day covers registration numbers:

The second argument, which is significant documentation to the hypothesis that all the 1st day postmarked covers were postmarked at one site, is based on checking the Reg. labels numbers affixed to the envelopes . At the end of 1994 I turned to the postmaster general at Gaza and asked for the postmarks of the openings of the diff. Gaza and Jericho post offices . To this request I sent envelopes which should be sent to me on as following ::
a. Envelopes , plain and Reg. to be sent on the opening day of the offices ,
b. Envelopes plain and Reg. to be sent on the 2nd and later dates of the offices . Examinations of the later sent covers revealed that in ALL CASES without exception Diff, Reg. label rolls were used than on the First Day !

( see explanation on the structure of the Reg. labels rolls in this link ) . [Link 3]

Analysis of the data shows that when the central post office in Gaza got the the stock of the -R- labels he distributed them to the diff. post offices , while it retains one roll of labels .This roll, one from each office , served for the preparations of the OFFICIAL first day 1.Jan.1995 of opening day postmark covers . The date in which the . Reg. labels rolls reached the diff. post offices can be learned by comparing two Reg. envelopes sent from Jericho . Both envelopes were cancelled by manual (pen) strikes as postmark was not available yet . :
1. Envelope sent at the end of Dec.1994 . Reg, Nr. recorded by hand , ,since Reg. labels have not been received ( תמונה (
2. Reg. cover sent on 9.Jan.95 . Label affixed is the standard one, from roll just received , close or at this date ( תמונה)

When did the postmarks delivered to the various post offices ?

As mentioned above , I have asked the postmaster of Gaza , to continue and send me envelopes from the diff. post units AFTER THE 1st Day . Examining the later envelopes , revealed that the earliest date ( Except for the 1st day) was……………...10.Jan.1995 . We can therefore conclude that the actual OPERATING date of service was 10.Jan.1995 . In other words , the doors of the diff. post offices were opened to the public only on the 10.Jan.1995 .This argument is supported by the two Jericho envelopes :
1. Reg. cover (shown above ) which was sent on 9.Jan.1995 , cancelled by manual , pen, indicating that the postmark not yet available .
2. Reg. cover send on 10.Jan.95, which is cancelled by the local postmark which is the 1st ACTUAL operating day of the office .


The complex evidence presented above reveals that :
1. the official First Day of the Pal. Auth. post was formally on 1.Jan.1995 .
2. The actual, practical, 1st day of service at ALL offices , was 10.Jan.1995
3. The official First Day covers (1. Jan.95) were probably prepared , together - at one site : the head office of Gaza strip post , in Gaza Town . 

Dr. Josef Wallach - Copyright (c) - All rights reserved