The Gaza Strip is Israel’s manufactured prison for the nearly 1.8 million Palestinians who live there, of whom more than 1,258,000 are refugees. Their parents or grandparents were forcibly removed from their homes and villages in present-day Israel in 1948. Many have lived in Gaza their whole lives, never getting permission from Israel to cross the border, jump on a plane, train or board a cruise ship.
Unbelievably, Israel even controls the mail that goes to Gaza. Packages, letters and postcards all get stopped in Tel Aviv, then scanned, sometimes opened, and forwarded on to Gaza weeks later.
In August 2011, I mailed a box from the main post office in Cairo to Gaza (217 miles as the crow flies) and it arrived more than 2 months later. In March 2016, I tried to mail a package from the main post office in Cairo to Gaza, and was informed that they no longer accept packages addressed to Gaza.
Back in the U.S., I tried to mail a letter from Baltimore to Jericho, Palestine in the occupied West Bank. The postal clerk found “Palestine, Texas” in her computer, but not Jericho, or Palestine, or the occupied West Bank. She was stumped until I told her we could try sending it to Jericho via Israel. My friend in Jericho finally received her letter more than 2 months later.
In Brindisi, Italy last week, I tried another experiment. I mailed a postcard to my friend in Gaza. Again, the postal clerk had no idea how to handle my request. Her computer just couldn’t find Gaza or Palestine. She passed me to another clerk who had the same problem. She finally decided to put the same amount of postage as if my card was going to the USA …. and then dumped it into her bag.
What if people from all over the world sent a postcard to Gaza?
- A simple exercise that might educate a local postal clerk about Gaza and Palestine.
- An ingenuous way to get the attention of the Israeli authorities. Imagine their consternation with postcards addressed to Gaza flooding their office.
- The simple joy of receiving a picture postcard from a stranger – a new friend – somewhere in the world.
If you want to join the postcard brigade, send a postcard to:
If you care to share your experience at your local post office, please write me at LoraLucero3@gmail.com
You can send your postcard anonymously if you wish. If you’d like to hear about the reaction from the children in the orphanage, please send me your contact information.
Thank you! And pass it along. The more postcards, the merrier!
Lora with orphans in Gaza in 2012.