Palestinians are so enmeshed in politics that it is akin to daily
bread. The two are inseparable as there is no choice under occupation
and now in the face of strikes.
The affects are felt by the children whose lives are politicized from birth. Many parents are political prisoners or were killed, others are unemployed or underemployed, opportunities are restricted by closures and checkpoints, and now the teachers are on strike.
Eighth grade student, Mohammad Issa, told PNN, “I know the reason for the strike. It is because the salaries have been stopped, so I sit in the house instead of sitting on the desks. I hope that God will solve this problem of the teachers and the salaries. It has put us in a real dilemma.”
Government employee Mohammad Abu Sheikh said, “We know that funds were frozen due to US, EU and Israeli actions. Who pays the price when we are victims of isolation? The public servants and the children do.”
He continued, “Our young people share our concerns and we all impatiently await our salaries. Is it conceivable that the actors imposing the siege consider themselves representatives of democracies?”
Director of Education in the Qalqilia District, Yousef Al Awda, told PNN, “For the newest students especially, but also for all students, this issue has psychological repercussions. The beginning of one’s academic career is a crucial period and children should not be put in the position to be concerned with policy.”
Al Awda called for “continuing the educational process without interruption.”
School Principal Salam Lutfi told PNN, “Disrupting studies at the beginning of the academic year creates the problem of lack of discipline among students that lasts for more than two months after a strike is complete. It also creates psychological problems as the students are ready to return to school and then are unable to. It adds to the existing uncertainty in their lives.”
School Principal Karim Abu Libdeh told PNN, “This is a bad situation on the student level. Our concern is when the problem will be resolved for their sake. I feel embarrassed in front of them when they ask what the future holds because I do not have the capacity to give an extensive and thorough answer. I hope the strike is short in order to not aggravate the problems that students already have.”
The Mayor of Qalqilia is ultimately in charge of such issues on a local level and the position is temporarily held by Yasser Jaidi while the elected official is in Israeli jail. Jaidi told PNN, “The Peoples Municipal Committee was formed to pursue the invocation of the educational process and calls for teachers’ attendance for the good of the general population. The statement was issued to parents and schools. Most parents are hoping for an end to the strike as the victim is the entire generation.”