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Lebanon Bans Israeli Flag Stamp

October 22, 1999

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Lebanon has banned mail into the country that bears a French stamp featuring the Israeli flag, newspapers reported Friday.

The General Security Directorate sent instructions Thursday to Libanpost, the country’s postal service, to return all mail carrying those stamps.

The stamp, worth 70 cents, was issued Jan 25 to honor 50 years of French-Israeli diplomatic relations. It has a French flag on the top with 1949 and an Israeli flag on the bottom with 1999. In the middle, it says ``French-Israeli diplomatic relations.″

The sale of the stamp stopped on schedule Oct. 10 but can still be used.

The French Postal and Telecommunications Ministry would not comment on Lebanon’s ban.

Lebanon is technically at war with Israel, and any direct or indirect contact with Israel is considered a crime punishable by imprisonment.

Libanpost is a Canadian-Lebanese joint firm that renovated and upgraded Lebanon’s war-tattered mail service.

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