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Palestinian teachers to suspend strike for a week after Abbas speech

March 12, 2016 6:39 P.M. (Updated: March 13, 2016 3:20 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian teachers announced in a statement on Saturday that they were suspending their strike and would resume classes for a week “out of respect for (Palestinian) President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision.”

Earlier on Saturday, Abbas announced in a speech that he would carry out a previous agreement signed between the Palestinian Authority and the teachers’ union in 2013, as demanded by teachers.

Abbas said the 2013 agreement would be implemented by the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Member of the teachers’ movement said that they decided to suspend their strike and resume school starting Sunday after the president’s statement.

Palestinian teachers launched a strike mid-February seeking higher salaries pledged to them by the PA in the 2013 agreement, which 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.

Abbas addressed the issue on Saturday, saying that the strikers’ demand for new representation in the teachers’ union would be addressed “by democratic means.”

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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