The Shmooze

Canada Halts Mail to Gaza

By Josh Tapper

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First it was building materials, now it’s the mail.

In the latest international Gaza blockade spat, Israel’s national mail carrier, Israel Post, told the Canada Post last week it would not deliver Canadian mail to the Strip, citing circumstances “beyond their control.” It’s not known what caused the mail stoppage.

Just days after the embargo was announced, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers issued a statement of solidarity with Gazans, pledging to get residents their mail. Moreover, the CUPW voiced support for Canada Boat Gaza, which plans to send an aid ship through the Israeli blockade this fall.

“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 the union’s national president, Denis Lemelin.

“We are heartened by the growing international response to Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinian people,” Lemelin continued. “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.”

In the meantime, Gaza-bound mail will be returned to sender. Canada Post is looking for alternative means of getting mail into Gaza.

This is not the first time the CUPW, a public-sector trade union, has taken a pro-Palestinian stance. In spring 2008, the union became the first in North America to pass a resolution in favor of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. And earlier this year, the CUPW criticized a joint Canada-Israel stamp, celebrating 60 years of healthy relations between the two countries.

Canada Post and Canadian government officials have said in the past the CUPW’s views don’t reflect those of either organization.


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