Hebron teachers go on strike over unpaid salaries

Palestinian teachers at five schools went on strike Saturday to demand overdue paychecks, in the first sign of unrest by public employees against the Hamas-led government over a growing financial crisis. The strike affected only a small number of the 210 schools in Hebron. Nonetheless, it marked a turning point. The Palestinian public has largely backed the government's contention that the crisis is the result of Western hostility to Hamas and so far has heeded calls to remain patient. In Saturday's strike, the teachers closed their schools, forcing hundreds of students to go home. Mohammed Qawasmeh, the top Education Ministry official in Hebron, urged the teachers to return to work, noting the work stoppage came just ahead of the end of the school year.