For over a month now, with much concern and feelings of solidarity we have been following the Palestinian teachers in their struggle for fair wages and social justice. The teachers have raised the banner of democratic civil struggle for their right to organize in independent, democratically elected unions. The slogans of their struggle are the same as those that appeared five years ago in the popular demonstrations of the Arab Spring, expressing the Arab peoples’ aspirations for freedom, progress, and a life of dignity.
Against the teachers’ struggle, a defamation campaign attempts to mar the legitimacy of their strike and demands, claiming that the struggle serves narrow political or party agendas. Nothing could be further from the truth. The demands are for fair wages, for transparent and egalitarian management of national resources, for the right to elect the leaders of their union, and for their right to strike. All of these are basic demands that must be met in any proper society and that anyone supporting social justice is bound to endorse. Regimes that deny workers these basic rights create acute class differences, push towards internal polarization, and eventually destroy any constructive social dynamic.
WAC- MAAN organizes Arab and Jewish workers in Israel and protects their rights. For over two decades it has been promoting the creation of a democratic movement for workers of both peoples, rejecting discrimination of any kind or separation based on nationality, religion, race or gender. In the name of the solidarity of all workers, we oppose the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories and call for peace between our peoples.
WAC-MAAN invests great resources in protecting the rights of Palestinian workers in occupied Jerusalem and in the industrial zones of the West Bank settlements. Many Palestinian workers in these areas fall “between the chairs”: they suffer from exploitation and humiliation by Israeli employers and the official establishment, but the Israeli regime prevents them from getting help from the Palestinian trade unions, whose activity is forbidden in Jerusalem and the settlement areas.
As a union that has taken upon itself to protect workers who lack union support, and in view of the extreme capitalist tendencies that have taken over the world at large, it is obvious to us that the struggle of the Palestinian teachers deserves solidarity, and we support this struggle wholeheartedly. It deserves the support of all who fight for equality and justice worldwide.
We have no doubt that the teachers’ struggle is strengthening the dynamic elements in Palestinian society, who aspire towards justice, freedom, and independence.
Translated by Tal Haran