US Post Office (illustrative).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A number of postal branches in the US have told customers that they would not accept mail for delivery to Israel due to the conflict with Gaza, the Anti-Defamation League reported on Thursday.
The ADL recently received complaints that postal branches in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey refused to send mail.
“The postal employees have told these individuals that current USPS policy says that mail to Israel cannot be accepted because of the current crisis,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. “Only once employees sought clarification from supervisors in Washington did these post offices accept packages and letters to Israel.”
Though reports circulated that mail delivery to Israel was halted for 36 hours while the Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to Ben-Gurion Airport, the US Postal Service denied this was the case.
“There was no authorized announcement of a temporary suspension of international mail... during the FAA flight suspension,” David Partenheimer, a representative of the US Postal service, told The Jerusalem Post via e-mail on Thursday.
“During this period, the US Postal Service continued to dispatch abroad US mail and packages addressed to Israel through transportation on cargo flights and other carriers that were authorized to fly to Ben-Gurion Airport,” he added. “Any post office that might have turned away customers tendering mail addressed to Israel and dispatched by the US Postal Service during this time did so in error, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience they experienced as a result.”
The ADL penned a letter to US Postmaster-General Patrick R. Donahoe saying that postal authorities in the branches had misunderstood the temporary ban on delivery to Israel as permanent.
The league urged the Postal Service to ensure that all of its employees were aware that mail delivery to Israel had not been suspended.
The FAA ban on flights was instated on July 22 after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in Yehud, less than 5 kilometers from Ben-Gurion airport, but ended on July 23.