Israel-Palestine: The Path Through Stamps

Every now and again when the bombs start falling and holy land becomes unholy, there just seems to be more people only interested in finger pointing, rather then debating towards a better solution to the problem.

I do have loved ones on both sides, and as much as I long and hope for a quick path to the solution, I helplessly feel there is nothing ever put on the table to make both sides co-exist without the violence they have become so used to depending on.

However, I do hope that both sides might at least consider that Einstein was actually on to something, when he said “Doing something the same way over and over again while expecting a different result was the definition of insanity”.

This story is not about opinions or about finding a solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. If there is one thing I have learned becoming a Philatelist, it’s that there is plenty of truth documented on each little stamp that can never be changed by, a person’s opinion nor wishes. So let’s begin the journey, and see the path from then till now through the history of the Holy Land’s Postal formation.


Bronze Age-  As some of you know the geographic location of Palestine has changed over the last 1000 years and prior according to documented maps. The first postal services in the region were actually established during the Bronze Age under the ruler Sargon of Akkad, where clay seals bearing the name Sargon and his son were used in place of stamps. Each Empire thereafter also continued with postal routes throughout the region.

Crusader Period- (1099-1187) Yes it is documented that Pigeons were actually used to delivery correspondence during this period. Notes belonging to Edward Gibbon documented between the years 1189 and 1191 spoke of Pigeons delivering messages between occupied inhabitants during the siege of Acre. Also, according to the documents from the chronicles of the First Crusade, a pigeon felled by a Hawk dropped a message in a crusader military camp that was intended to warn the duke of Caesarea of the coming crusader invasion. The message was written in Arabic “Greetings from the king of Acre to the duke of Caesarea. A generation of dogs, a foolish, headstrong, disorderly race, has gone through me land. If you value your way of life, you and others of the faith should bring harm to them, since you can easily do what you wish. Transmit this message to other cities and strongholds

Mamluk Rule- (1270-1516) At the time the Mumluk’s ruled the region, the Cairo to Damascus route serviced Lydda, Lajjun as well as Deir el-Balah. The postal system, named Barid under the leadership of Baybars, was established for the purpose to keep up with any new developments concerning the Franks and Mongols. After the Mamluks defeated the Mongol arm,. Pigeon carriers between Cairo and Damascus play and even more important role in communications in the region.

Ottoman Rule- (1516-1918) By 1834 the Ottoman rulers upon improving its transport, established the new and improved postal service that included post offices in all major cities including Acre, Haifa, Jerusalem and Gaza. In early 1841 the system had then expanded routes from Beirut to Damascus and from Jerusalem to Acre, making it clear that the modern day postal service was beginning to develop. Over the next several decades, the Postal system in the region saw its operations expand and improve rapidly. One reason for these rapid improvements was the permits given to European countries to provide additional postal services throughout the Ottoman Empire. These foreign post offices were mostly established to provide currency transactions from the holy land to mainland Europe.

British E.E.F stamps and service- (1917-1920) By 1917 the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force had occupied the region of Palestine. In 1918 Both the Egyptian and Indian Expeditionary Forces had given civilians basic postal services free of charge. Two Stamps inscribed Palestine_Mandate_Stamp_013E.E.F were issued in early 1918 followed by the June release of the definitive, which included 11 values. The stamps baring Arabic inscriptions besides English were valid in Palestine, Cilicia, Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan.

British Mandate- (1920-1948) As Palestine came under British Mandate rule in 1920 both coins and stamps were sanctioned with overprints bearing the three official languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English with both sides protesting the overprint. Under the British Mandate the system had grown from 15 post offices in 1919 to 150 by the end of the Mandate. With most of the Jerusalem postal archives destroyed in 1948, Philatelists were asked to help with their own collected post marks and dates of use.

Transitional Postal Services- (1948) In 1948 when the British withdrew, the region turned to heavy violence leaving all public services crippled or destroyed. The postal service was unreliable with all British systems shutting down. In May of 1948 the Jewish provisional government did not have its own stamps ready for use, so it relied on using existing Jewish National Fund labels. These labels were first printed in 1902 for fundraiser purposes. The Jewish provisional government printed and issued the stamp with an overprint meaning “postage” from May 3rd to May 14th with all the remaining stock ordered to be destroyed. The last day of use for these stamps was May 22nd.

Palestine Post- (1948) After the departure of the British Mandate both Egypt and Jordan took on the duty of issuing stamps for both Gaza and the West Bank. They both issued their own stamps with the overprint “Palestine” on them. Egypt also issued airmail and express stamps. In 1994 the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) created a postal system with post offices throughout the PNA. In 1999 Israel and the PNA came to an agreement that PNA mail can be sent directly to both Egypt and Jordan.

Israel Post- (1948)  Starting on May 16th 1948, stamps were issued by Israel under the Israel Postal Authority. The first stamps were entitled Doar Ivri (“Hebrew Postage”) but also trilingual, in Hebrew, English and Arabic following the practice of the British Mandate. Israel issued their first airmail stamps issued in 1950. By 1990 Israel had 53 routes for 1058 locations in Israel and in Gaza and the West Bank up until 1994 as well. Since the year 2000 Israel was created over 320 stamps with all having the distinctive tab that stamp collectors have come to appreciate.










Nick’s stamps was established in 2002 and is located in San Diego, All Rights Reserved.

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I found my first stamp collection 13 years ago at a Salvation Army in San Diego and I was hooked from day one! I began to amass more collections and spent a few years researching the stamp market.I started advertising and making offers on stamp collections.

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  1. niveen

    Hi this niveen from palestine I have very old and rare stamps I want to sell them so if u are interested let me know

    • I am a advanced collector of Space related topics . Better material only . What do you have in a collection if available. Early autographs if available

  2. Mark Appelbaum

    Are you still in San Diego?

  3. You have provided wonderful information that is very important. Thank for this

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