Company also ends free shipping to Israel on orders worth over $49; says product selection reduced ‘due to increased demand’
In a blow to consumers and the postal service, Amazon has reportedly blocked the shipment of most items to Israel.
The move followed Saturday’s ending of the online retail giant’s offer of free shipping to Israel on orders over $49, which began in November 2019, the Ynet news site reported.
The report said that the vast majority of products previously available for Israeli customers are now no longer available. However, third-party sellers are still permitted to send to Israeli customers at additional expense.
“Due to increased demand, we temporarily have reduced product selection available for delivery to Israel,” Amazon said in an email.
Amazon said last week it was limiting what brands and independent sellers can send to its US warehouses for the next three weeks in an attempt to make room for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other items in high demand during the global viral pandemic. Among the products that can be shipped via Amazon are canned beans, diapers, dog food, disinfecting wipes, medical supplies and various household goods. Items like jeans, phone cases and other non-essentials will not be allowed.
Merchants send their products to Amazon to store in their warehouses until a shopper buys it. Amazon then packs up the products and ships it to the customer.
Last week Amazon said it was offering its employees extra incentives such as cash bonuses or a temporary wage bump as it tried to manage the crush of customers while simultaneously looking to keep its workforce happy.
Lockdown restrictions around the world have placed pressure on Amazon’s delivery network as more people hunker down at home and shop online to avoid crowds.
The Seattle-based company warned American customers this week that deliveries may take longer than usual, and announced it would add 100,000 new jobs at delivery centers and its warehouses to keep up with a spike in orders.
The ending of shipments to Israel is not the first time in recent weeks the retail giant has angered customers in the region.
Last month the Palestinian Authority’s economy ministry sent a letter of complaint to the retail giant over its shipping policy, after the Financial Times reported that Amazon was offering free shipping to settlements in the West Bank for purchases above $49, but not to Palestinians who marked their address as being in the Palestinian territories. A few weeks later, Amazon said it would provide free shipping on certain orders to West Bank Palestinians.