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Amazon penalizes Palestinians for listing 'Palestinian Territories' in address

A hand-truck with Amazon packages waits to be delivered on December 27, 2019 in New York City, the US. (Photo by AFP)

The US retail giant, Amazon, is depriving Palestinians of free shipping granted to nearby customers in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank for mentioning the "Palestinian Territories" in the address not Israel, reports say.

Amazon said on Friday if the Palestinians changed their addresses and selected Israel as “their country,” they would enjoy the free shipping promotion.

An investigation by the Financial Times found that the e-commerce giant has launched a free shipping promotion in Israel since it first entered the Israeli market in November.

The offer also extends to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, however, customers who live there and select their address as "Palestinian Territories" are subject to shipping and handling fees upwards of $24.

Amazon spokesperson Nick Caplin attributed the contradiction to a "logistical issue," saying it was "not a sign of any other consideration".

"In November, we launched a free shipping promotion for customers within Israel," Caplin told Middle East Eye (MEE) in an emailed statement, adding, "This does not include the Palestinian Territories, as we cannot guarantee the high standard of delivery experience that Amazon customers expect."

Amazon’s practice has met with criticism from human rights experts and organizations.

"I'm outraged yet unsurprised to hear that Amazon is discriminating against Palestinians like this," Granate Kim, communications director for Jewish Voice for Peace, said in an email to MEE.

"Amazon is essentially incentivizing Palestinians to choose 'Israel' as their address to get a free shipping deal. Corporations like Amazon need to be held accountable for such abhorrent practices and we're talking with partners now to see how to do that."

On Wednesday, the United Nations human rights office released a report identifying 112 companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Amazon was not named in that report.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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