First day of school cancelled in Palestine due to strikes

Palestinian teachers protest in April 2007

Palestinian children were due to begin their first day back at school on Saturday, however in the West Bank, school was suspended due to a teachers' union strike.

The teachers are protesting a government decision to reduce weekends to one day per week and end having Saturday as a day-off. In Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank, Ma'an's correspondent reported that the streets were teeming with students returning from school after finding their teachers absent from the classrooms.

Media coordinator of the teachers' union, Nasaan Awwad, said that all teachers in the West Bank were committed to the strike. Awwad said that the strike will continue every Saturday until the caretaker government revokes its decision to order teachers to work a six-day week. More than 757,000 students in the West Bank had their vacation extended by a day due to the strike.

The deposed Palestinian government in Gaza also decided to increase working days and have one day-off per week, in order to keep pace with PM Salam Fayyad's government. However, teachers in Gaza appear to agree with the move and no strike was held in the strip.