Global ecommerce company Amazon will now be delivering parcels for free to customers in the occupied Palestinian territories, reported Wafa news agency.
The Palestinian Economy Ministry said in a statement that the American company has reversed its policy on charging delivery fees for items being delivered to customers in the Palestinian territories.
It attributed the policy reversal by Amazon to “a series of Palestinian measures aiming at halting disregard to the Palestinian identity and recognising settlements.”
This comes after Amazon was accused of being bias following a Financial Times report that revealed it was delivering free to Israeli settlements since November, while Palestinian customers living in their towns and villages near the illegal settlements were being charged fees of over $24 for its services.
Despite International law listing both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considering all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal, Amazon said it would make shipping free for Palestinians only if they list their country as Israel.
Palestine’s Economy Ministry threatened to sue the company for conducting business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, and called on it to immediately stop this blatant discriminatory delivery policy for Israelis and Palestinians, or face legal accountability before international courts.
The Palestinian postal service has been largely dysfunctional as mail deliveries to the Israeli-occupied West Bank must pass through international crossings and borders before reaching the Palestinian territory, and are often subject to long delays.
However, last week, the UN Universal Postal Union recognised Palestine’s right to have direct postal exchange with the world through Jordan without any restrictions imposed. How this will be enforced on the ground is yet to be seen.
Last month, the UN issued a blacklist of 112 companies which continue to operate in illegal settlements in the occupied territories, they include global giants Airbnb, Expedia, Opodo and Motorola; Amazon was not named in the list.