After a month of silence, Abbas finally addresses teachers’ strike

Published March 12th, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Executive Committee of the PLO in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Executive Committee of the PLO in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the ongoing teachers’ strike on Saturday, after nearly a month of silence on the crisis.

The president said in a speech that, in consultation with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, he would carry out a previous agreement signed between the Palestinian Authority and the teachers’ union in 2013, as demanded by teachers.

Abbas also said the strikers’ demand for new representation in the teachers’ union would be addressed “by democratic means.”

The president called on teachers to resume school on Sunday, and said the parameters of the agreement would be fully implemented by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

It was not immediately clear if teachers on strike had accepted the president's offer.

Palestinian teachers launched a strike mid-February seeking higher salaries pledged to them by the PA in a 2013 agreement that was never implemented.

Support for and participation in the strike snowballed after PA security forces on multiple occasions attempted to stifle demonstrations staged by teachers on strike.

Teachers meanwhile lashed out against the teachers’ union for failing to represent them in subsequent negotiations with the PA, and a number of officials in the teachers’ union submitted their resignation following popular demand for new representation.

Demonstrations staged during the strike marked the largest public turn out against the PA in years, and exposed a longstanding rift growing between the PA and the public.


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