Canada Post says it can no longer accept outgoing mail destined for the Gaza Strip because there is no guarantee the items will arrive.
Israel Post has reportedly informed its Canadian counterparts that circumstances in the Gaza Strip “beyond their control” have prompted them to cease mail delivery.
Canada Post said it has not been able to find alternate routes to move the mail in the area but has vowed to continue looking.
Gaza-bound mail received by Canada Post will be returned to sender.
Independent Jewish Voices were among the groups that slammed the decision.
“This is the latest in an ongoing series of Israeli outrages against the people of Gaza,” said Sid Shniad, spokesperson for Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), referring to Canada Post's announcement this week that letters to Gaza will not be accepted because the Israeli postal service will not deliver them.
“Cutting off mail access is part of Israel's continuing campaign to isolate and punish the people of Gaza,” Shniad continued. “The Canadian government should be protesting this punitive move.”
“Our organization is endorsing the Canadian Boat to Gaza, which plans to break the Israeli siege. As part of its work, the boat will deliver Canadian mail to Gazans,” he concluded.
Canada's excellent, unionized postal workers made it clear that Canada Post's decision does not reflect their views, and also called on Canadians to send mail to Gaza on the siege-busting boat.
Postal Workers' Union: Get mail to Gaza on the boat
By The Canadian Union of Postal Workers
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants mail delivered to Gaza.
Following an announcement by Canada Post that Israel Post has suspended mail delivery to Gaza, the union is encouraging people who wish to send mail to Gaza to get their mail onto the Canadian boat bound for the blockaded Palestinian territory.
"As postal workers, we know very well that cutting off mail creates suffering and hardship for people, who are isolated from their loved ones," said Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW. "How many more abuses will the people of Gaza have to endure?"
Numerous organizations are working together to endorse a Canadian boat to Gaza in the autumn. Others, including Independent Jewish Voices, have supported the idea of getting mail onto the boat.
"We are heartened by the growing international response to Israel's cruel treatment of the Palestinian people," said Lemelin, whose union has been at the forefront of condemning human rights abuses in the occupied territories. "We stand in solidarity with all efforts to break the blockade and end the indignities imposed on the Palestinian people by the state of Israel."
What should you do if you want to send a letter to Gaza? Lemelin suggests contacting organizers at this website.