Without salaries since the Hamas government took power in March, and with no
sign that they will receive salaries anytime soon, hundreds of
Palestinian schoolteachers took to the streets Saturday in an ongoing
"We are determined to go ahead with our strike," said Jamil Shehadah, the general secretary of the teachers union, on Saturday, denying reports that the strike had been called off.
The Hamas-led government has been unable to pay salaries to the government's 165,000 government employees since the U.S. and European Union cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians in March. Israel has also seized about $50 million a month of Palestinian import tax money that would normally go to pay salaries and support the functioning of Palestinian society.
Many government employees have pointed out that if the Israeli government would cease its illegal seizure of Palestinian tax money, salaries could be paid and the teachers would not be on strike.
The teachers' union decided at the last minute to go ahead with the strike after discussions with various union leaders, thus preventing hundreds of schools in the West Bank from opening for the first day of the school year.