Around 37,000 Palestinian teachers from across all the Occupied Territories — the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — were on their second one-day strike last week in support of a demand for higher salaries. Most teachers earn a paltry $400 per month. This has barely changed since the Israeli occupation began in 1967.
Members of the delegation from the Camden-Abu Dis Friendship Association met the teachers during a visit to the town. It is close to Jerusalem, but now cut off from it by Israel’s apartheid wall, which slices through Abu Dis like a knife through a heart.
There are two unions representing the teachers. The first is the official Palestinian Authority union which initially tried to prevent the strike. Five years ago, the authority arrested the teachers’ rank and file leaders and jailed one striker for 50 days.
The second is the independent union committee which is described as the real union. Ayman-y-Hamdan, one of the activists told Socialist Worker, “Palestinians want to improve their life. It is their right.”
The job of Palestinian teachers is made harder by having no freedom to determine the content of education. For example, in history, they are not allowed to mention the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.