Friday, August 20, 2010


The Israeli blockade of Gaza continues despite outrage over the recent acts of piracy that the Israeli government has committed on relief ships bound for what has essentially become the world's largest prison camp. Amongst the many items that Israel refuses entry to Gaza is simple old mail. While Canada Post has decided to suspend delivery to Gaza the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has other thoughts, and some of their members plan to sail with a Canadian relief ship to Gaza along with mail directed there. Sort of an update to the old saying;

"Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night nor armed soldiers shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Here's the story from the Toronto Sun. >>>
Gaza boat goes postal!
Postal Union backs Gaza boat, promises mail delivery

By Brian Lilley, Parliamentary Bureau

Last Updated: August 19, 2010 4:28pm
OTTAWA - Canada Post won’t deliver mail to the Gaza Strip any longer but the union representing the posties says they will.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says mail bound for Gaza will be delivered by their members aboard the Canadian boat for Gaza.

CUPW is one of many Canadian groups that have endorsed or are supporting an attempt to have a Canadian boat run the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

“It’s part of our campaign of boycott, divestment and sanction against the Israeli State to respect international law,” said CUPW president Denis Lemelin.

CUPW passed resolutions supporting the campaign, including one designating Israel an “apartheid state” in 2008.

“Cutting mail is adding more pressure to people,” said Lemelin, adding he’s backing the Gaza boat in the hope that it will break the blockade.

Israel and Egypt undertook a blockade of the Gaza strip in 2007.

Israel said it is continuing the blockade to ensure weapons do not enter the area. Hamas has used positions inside Gaza to launch rocket attacks on Israel, including a series of attacks earlier this month.

“Our national director will go to Palestine in November to see what’s going on,” Lemelin told QMI Agency.

CUPW has resisted attempts to loosen the monopoly that Canada Post holds on delivering mail in Canada or from Canada to international destinations.

Earlier this year the union launched a campaign to stop what they viewed as an attempt to allow competition in international mail delivery.

Yet when it comes to getting mail to the Gaza Strip, the union is calling on Canadians to send the mail via the Gaza boat.

“It’s different,” said Lemelin. “We are postal workers, we can help.”

Canada Post stops mail delivery in emergencies such as the Haiti earthquake or other natural disasters.

Mail delivery to Gaza was stopped after the man in charge of mail transfers was arrested by Israeli security forces. He has so far not been replaced by the local government.

The organizers of the Gaza boat hope to raise $300,000 to outfit a boat with supplies. On their website they say they will not allow Israel to stop them and declare that any attempt to board the ship will be an act of piracy that the Canadian government must protect them from.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has said that any ships attempting to take aid to Gaza should accept safe passage to Israeli ports where the goods will be inspected and passed on. The organizers of the boat reject that idea.

Other supporters of the Gaza boat include groups such as Independent Jewish Voices, Mohawk Traditional Council, Educators for Peace and Justice, a group of Toronto-area school teachers.
Here's the original press release from CUPW. Note the reference to the group organizing the Gaza boat in Canada.

Ottawa, August 12, 2010

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants mail delivered to Gaza.

Following an announcement by Canada Post that Israel Post has suspended mail delivery to Gaza, the union is encouraging people who wish to send mail to Gaza to get their mail onto the Canadian boat bound for the blockaded Palestinian territory.

“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 Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW. “How many more abuses will the people of Gaza have to endure?”

Numerous organizations are working together to endorse a Canadian boat to Gaza in the autumn. Others, including Independent Jewish Voices, have supported the idea of getting mail onto the boat.

“We are heartened by the growing international response to Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinian people,” said Lemelin, whose union has been at the forefront of condemning human rights abuses in the occupied territories. “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.”

What should you do if you want to send a letter to Gaza? Lemelin suggests contacting organizers at the website

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