PA security forces detain 22 teachers on strike
FEB. 17, 2016 3:54 P.M. (UPDATED: FEB. 17, 2016 8:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority security forces on Wednesday detained 22 Palestinian teachers who took part in a strike demanding the guarantee of teachers’ rights, sources in the Palestinian Teachers’ Union said.
The sources said that the teachers, two of whom are principals, were detained in raids across the occupied West Bank.
As part of the strike, an estimated 20,000 Palestinian teachers demonstrated in Ramallah on Tuesday to call for the implementation of an 2013 agreement guaranteeing teachers’ rights.
Most schools in the occupied West Bank shut down completely in protest, while other establishments closed before noon, as teachers gathered in front of the PA cabinet headquarters to demonstrate.
The teachers called for the resignation of the head of the teachers’ union, Ahmad Sahwil, and for the organization of elections within the teachers’ union.
“Teachers are not against the union as a union, but against the behaviors and abuses of the union,” one demonstrator, Adnan al-Durubi, told Ma’an.
Al-Durubi said the average Palestinian teacher’s salary did not exceed 3,000 shekels ($767) each month.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly expenditure of a Palestinian family in the West Bank is $1,333.
In 2013, the Palestinian teachers’ union signed an agreement with the government which guaranteed a significant increase on teachers’ basic salary.
However, three years after a lengthy teachers’ strike over unpaid salaries, the Palestinian Authority has yet to make good on its promise to increase wages.
The teachers have called on the Palestinian government to comply with the increase agreed on in 2013, as well as a secure university education for teachers’ children, reforms in retirement legislation, and promotions and bonuses based on experience.
The teachers detained Wednesday were identified as Ibrahim Izzat al-Asafra, Basil Dudin, Kinan Audah, Yousif Abu Ras, Bilal Jawabra, Muhammad Abu Ajamiya, Izzat Manasra, Mahmoud Shrouf, Anis Abu Zahra, Qays Abu Zahra, Muhammad Abu Iram, Ayman al-Asa, Mire Nassar, Muhammad Hamdan Farikh, Amir Burouq, Tariq Samar, Alaa Jayyusi, Sadiq al-Qarut, Munir Abu Thiab, and Ammar Shahrour.The two principals were identified as Ziad Ali Darabee and Hasan Zayid.