THE NABLUS POST OFFICE INCIDENT
When WW I ended, Eltaher returned to Palestine where he contributed to a local newspaper published in Jerusalem called “Sourya Al-Janoubeyya”, i.e. Southern Syria. British occupation forces, which had seized the country from the Ottoman Turks, were of course aware of his nationalist positions first in Palestine, then in Egypt when the war started. In order to ensure his silence, especially after signs of opposition to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 by the Palestinians became more evident, and to pre-empt him from inciting public opinion against British authorities through his writings, the authorities appointed him in 1918 Manager of the Post and Telegraph Office in Nablus. Having learned some English during one of his prison sojourns facilitated his appointment.
The story has been told in a number of versions over the years, but the end result is the same. According to Eltaher’s account of the events to his son, a few days, or weeks, after his appointment, a registered letter addressed to the British Military Governor in Nablus was received at the post office. Eltaher asked a postman to prepare a notification and deliver it to the Governor’s office so that he could come to the Post Office, sign the register and receive his registered letter. However the postman quickly advised Eltaher that the previous Post Office Manager used to take registered letters and the register itself to Government House every time a registered letter addressed to the Military Governor was received at the Post Office.
Eltaher told the mailman that he was appointed to manage the Post Office subject to the rules and regulations of His Britannic Majesty’s Government, and that these rules and regulations did not stipulate that the Post Office Manager must carry the incoming registered mail register to anybody to sign it, including the Military Governor. The mailman carried out his instructions and delivered the Notice of Registered Matter Arrival to Government House. The following day, the Military Governor rode to the Post Office, tied his horse at the door, walked into the Post Office, signed the register and received his registered letter. He then returned to his office and fired Eltaher from his position as Manager of the Post and Telegraph Office in Nablus!