Human rights groups and Palestinian political parties condemn the arrests and call for the teachers’ immediate release.
Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces arrested 20 teachers and two school principles in raids across the West Bank.
The PA targeted the teachers because they organized a general strike after the PA repeatedly failed to implement promises it made in 2013 to raise teachers’ salaries and strengthen teachers’ rights. According to Ma’an News Agency the average Palestinian teacher’s salary does not exceed 3,000 shekels ($767) a month.
On Tuesday, approximately 20,000 teachers demonstrated for their rights in front of the office of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah.
Al-Haq, a human rights organization in Palestine, called on the government to respect teachers’ right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in the Palestinian Authorities’ Basic Law as well as international human rights law. Al-Haq also demanded the 22 teachers’ immediate release.
Other human rights organizations, such as the Palestinian Independent Citizen Rights Commission, sent a letter to the PA Prime Minister, calling for the teachers’ release and an end to the government’s arrest campaign against them.
Palestinian political parties also condemned the arrests. The Palestinians People Party (PPP) issued a statement last night framing the arrests as further evidence of the governments’ assault on teachers’ rights. The party said that it views the arrests as a dangerous policy that goes against human rights.
Hamas, according to spokesperson Sami Abu Zohri, also demanded that the government stop arresting teachers and begin respecting their rights.
Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Center Committee, expressed that Fatah is in support of teachers’ rights too and calls on the government to end its crackdown on the educators.
In Hebron, teachers called on Palestinians to organize protests against the arrests in front of their local governorates’ headquarters.
Ahmad Jaradat is coordinator of the social movements project at the Alternative Information Center (AIC)