- The Media Line - https://themedialine.org -

7 Weeks On, No End in Sight for Palestinian School Strike

Most parents of Palestinian schoolchildren are angry with teachers who have been on strike since the beginning of the school year, demanding their salaries.
“The parents are blaming us for this, but it’s not in our hands,” a Palestinian teacher told The Media Line in an interview with The International News Hour. “I can’t work for eight months without getting my salary. I have commitments.”
Bassem ‘Salah A-Din teaches English in a public secondary school in Hizmeh, in the West Bank, and is one of 40,000 teachers and health workers on strike. Private schools in the Palestinian areas accommodate about 300,000 Palestinian students and are not striking.
Some 165,000 government employees have not received their salaries since March, after Hamas came to power and most international aid to the Palestinian Authority was frozen.
Bassem said the parents were suffering because about 800,000 restless children were at home all the time. He is the father of four children, three of whom are school age and have been home for seven weeks.
Parents are concerned the entire school year will be lost if teachers do not end the strike soon.
“I’m not blaming the Palestinian government. I blame the West – the U.S., the European Union, and Arab countries. We’re on strike because of them. They’re punishing us because of our democracy,” Bassem said.
Bassem rejected accusations made by Hamas that Fatah, which dominates the teachers unions, is perpetuating the strike to topple the Hamas government.
“It’s not true,” he said. “We’re not against Hamas, we’re just teachers seeking our rights.”
Some teachers who are supporters of Hamas are teaching for limited periods of time, he said, but added that those on strike were not necessarily Fatah supporters.