Global e-commerce giant Amazon has reversed its policy of charging Palestinian customers in the Israeli occupied territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem shipping and handling fees upwards of USD 24. The e-commerce company will now deliver its shipments free of cost to Palestinian customers, bringing its delivery policy on par with what it offers in the illegal Israeli Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian lands. This was announced by the Palestinian minister of telecom and information technology in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, March 4.
The ministry attributed Amazon’s decision to “a series of Palestinian measures aiming at halting disregard to the Palestinian identity and recognizing settlements.” It was claimed that a series of legal actions in international courts were initiated by the ministry of telecom and information technology, ministry of national economy, ministry of finance, the universal postal union, and others, against Amazon’s discriminatory policy towards Palestinians. Under the erstwhile policy, Palestinians could only avail Amazon’s promotional free delivery offer if they chose ‘Israel’ instead of ‘Palestine’ as their country of location.
A Financial Times investigation last month had revealed that since November 2019, Amazon has been offering free delivery on orders above USD 49 to Jewish Israeli customers in the illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. On the other hand, it was charging Palestinians USD 24 or more for the same. The company had tried to explain away the discrepancy as a ‘logistical issue’, citing the difficulty Amazon delivery personnel face due to the myriad of Israel checkpoints and military/police barriers dotted all around and inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Amazon claimed that this caused hindrances to its delivery system.