Australia Post has sparked criticism for trying to ‘rewrite history’ with a stamp that recognises Israel prior to its UN-acknowledged formation in 1947.
The joint issue stamps with Israel were released as part of this year’s Australia World Stamp Expo, and commemorate the 1917 Battle of Beersheba.
Australians for Palestine (AFP) issued a statement last week saying the stamps should be withdrawn, ‘if Australia Post is to be on the right side of history.’
Sonja Karkar from AFP told The Echo, ‘We are not disputing the Australian Light Horse, the battle, the date or the place.
‘We are saying that Israel did not exist at the time and would not come into being for another 30 years. If they want to talk about a sequence of events that led to the creation of Israel, then they cannot ignore the ethnic cleansing and exile of the Palestinians that was perpetrated by the Jewish terrorist groups to make way for Israel.’
British betrayed the Palestinians
‘Beersheba was a Palestinian city with a population of about 4000. The Palestinians were defending their land and had been promised independence and freedom from imperial Ottoman occupation by the British if they helped the allied forces. They were betrayed.’
When queried about the historical accuracy of the stamp, an Australia Post media spokesperson told The Echo, ‘The battle information was provided by a number of sources, including the Australian War Memorial, and was fact-checked by Peter Stanley, a noted war historian.’
But Ms Karkar says, ‘One only has to go to the war memorials to see Palestine etched in stone to know the truth. No fact checking by war historians needed.’
Ms Karkar claims the battle was a pivotal one for Jewish/Palestinian relations.
‘Three decades later the 4000 Palestinians of Beersheba were terrorised into leaving their city when the newly formed Israel captured it in 1948.
‘They have never been allowed to return to their homes.’
War historian Peter Stanley did not return The Echo’s emails and his number was unavailable as of going to press.
Ms Karkar says complaints can be made via Australia Post’s contact form: http://tinyurl.com/australiapost-com or via the Postal Industry Ombudsman, GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601.
The fax number is 02 6249 7829.