RAMALLAH, January 5 (JMCC) - Palestinians in Issawiya gave Israel's Jerusalem mayor an earful Wednesday as city officials dedicated over 1,000 mailboxes in the neighborhood Wednesday.
The residents said the city wasn't providing Palestinians with adequate classroom space or permits to build in the city, occupied by Israel in 1967. A rock was also reportedly thrown at the gathering.
The mailboxes are being distributed to male heads of each extended family or hamula
, providing one-third of the families with a box, reported the Jerusalem Post
The move comes after a high court ruling that Palestinians must be afforded equal access to mail services in the city.
Mail service is difficult in these areas because of the lack of street names or numbers. Mail is delivered haphazardly to area stores, and residents often miss important notices or court summons, racking up additional late fees because they do not receive the bills, according to [the Association for Civil Rights in Israel].
On November 9, the High Court ordered the city to create an inter-office committee consisting of representatives from the Communications Ministry, the municipality of Jerusalem, and the post office. The committee’s first step was to build post-office box distribution centers.
“It’s very complicated… we do everything to give them services,” said Hava Ronen, a spokeswoman for the Postal Services. She explained that the post-office boxes were organized according to patriarchal leaders of “hamulot,” or Arabic family clans, rather than individual families. No street names and similar family names further complicate the process of mail delivery.
“The culture of getting mail is completely different here,” she added.