Sunday, December 11, 2005


Although I'm very well aware Palestine is not a country I still went ahead and sent Mahmoud Abbas a letter. Technically Palestine is still a part of Israel. However anyone that follows the news knows they hope to achieve independence in the near future.

I was afraid the Palestinians would have been deeply insulted had I addressed the envelope Ramallah, Israel. Ordinarily the Post Office would do what it can to forward the letter to it's ultimate destination even though the country name may be incorrect or missing.

For example, were one to mail a letter to London, England the letter would certainly be forwarded to the postal authorities of the United Kingdom even though England is technically not a country. The same goes for Holland and various other spots around the world. Basically, the USPS bends over backwards to figure out where the envelope's ultimate destination is and goes ahead and forwards the letter, even in circumstances in which there is no country noted on the envelope.

Over the weekend the letter to Palestine was "returned for better address." In this case it seems that, as an arm of the federal government, the USPS is making a very clear political statement. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with this statement I just find it to be very 'cute'.

When I have a chance I will send a letter to the Postmaster General in Washington asking for some clarification here.


Blogger Chai18 said...

there is no "Palestine" the closest you're going to get is Palestinian Authority-which in it of itself is not a country either, just a governing body of the Gaza Strip and areas B and C of the West Bank

1:18 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Odd that you had a problem -- others seem to attest that "Palestine" works, although "Palestinian Territory" is also seen.


1:53 PM  
Blogger Stuart Ian Burns said...

What do you mean England is not technically a country?

Also -- if I'm being really picky shouldn't you have sent a letter to the head of the Scottish Parliment, the Welsh Assembly and the Head of State in Northern Ireland. Devolution would certainly make this an important addition.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Gag Halfrunt said...

I believe that mail sent to Palestinian authority areas from the US has to have "via Israel" at the end of the address.

By the way, the head of state in the UK is the Queen. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The head of the devolved government in Scotland or Wales is the First Minister. IIRC, there is no first minister in Northern Ireland.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Jez said...

England most certainly is a country.

I did laugh at the note put on the back of Tony's card though.

Perhaps you shold have sent the request to the queen (she is better looking than Tony and she will be 80 this year)

2:06 AM  
Anonymous SC Pete said...

Think you're reading too much into the political thinking of the postal service, more likely than not it was a computer error, or some worker that couldn't find the country on an official list (since they probably only know a handful by heart).

So long as it gets to them people I know don't have a problem with it saying via Israel (at least for the time being). It is courteous, however, to make Palestine the final location mentioned.

4:58 PM  

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