Teachers in Palestine are escalating their strike action this week, despite efforts by the courts to prevent them. The teachers are striking about the failure of the government to honour a pay agreement made in September. Earlier this year they were forced to take strike action against unpaid wages.

Education is considered by the Palestinian people to be central to their struggle, yet precisely because they are teaching and learning under conditions of occupation, education is doubly hard, with teachers and pupils often facing checkpoints on their way to school and harrassment from Israeli Defence Force soldiers or 'settlers'. This difficult situation is compounded by the strangling of the Palestinian economy, leading to situations like the present, where teachers are still not being paid what they are owed.

In a separate development, the United Nations agency which is responsible for the education of Palestinian refugees has said that it does not have the money to pay staff wages this month. Those in charge of the agency are hoping that teachers will agree to work without pay unless and until the money from donors arrives.

Meanwhile there have been global protests, including in Israel itself, over the so-called Prawer plan to destroy Bedouin villages inside Israel and the forcible removal of the inhabitants, which will include the destruction of schools which pre-existed the state of Israel.

Messages of support to the Palestinian teachers can be sent to Gupt_Palestine@hotmail.com