Palestinian teacher strike may end school year

October 23, 2006 02:10

800,000 Palestinian students are locked out of their schools by the open-ended school strike, called over the Hamas-led government's failure to pay salaries to 165,000 civil servants since it came to power in March. A quick end to the walkout appears unlikely. Squeezed by an international aid boycott, the Islamic militant rulers have no money to pay the teachers. But Hamas says there is much more behind the walkout than a wage dispute. They accuse the rival Fatah movement, which dominates the teachers' unions, of keeping the strike going to try to bring down the government. In this standoff, it appears increasingly likely Palestinian students will lose the entire school year - a blow to a society already weary from growing internal strife, economic depression and years of Israeli travel bans.

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