Support the demands of Palestinian public sector workers on strike
On September 2nd, 154,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority are starting a general strike to protest against the non-payment of their wages for the past six months. These workers and over 1 million of Palestinians, which they support, have been deprived of their monthly income due to the financial boycott imposed by the Israeli occupying power, its US ally and European countries on the new Palestinian government formed after the democratic legislative elections of January 2006. Israel stopped transferring customs revenues and tax returns to the Palestinian Authority in violation of its obligations according to the agreements signed between Israelis and Palestinians under the auspice of international parties, whereas external financial assistance from most foreign donors was stopped.
After silently and courageously bearing the consequences of this boycott for many months, Palestinian public sector employees have decided to call attention onto their plight and send a strong message to Palestinian and international decision-makers. They cannot continue to perform their duties without being paid their salaries. They have a right to live in dignity and meet the basic needs of their families. At the same time, the strike will disrupt all services provided by the PA to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including provision of health care -except in emergency cases- and proper functioning of public schools at the start of the school year 2006/2007.
The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine supports the strike of Palestinian public sector workers, who are exercising a basic labor right guaranteed by national and international law. We also believe that a wide mobilization of political forces and institutions, as well as the civil society here and around the world, is crucial in order to end the crisis as soon as possible. Therefore, we call upon all defenders of democracy, civil society organizations, trade unions and workers’ organizations to take position in solidarity with Palestinian public sector workers and demand from their governments that they resume immediately their full financial support of the Palestinian Authority and put pressure on the Israeli occupying power to ensure respect of its financial obligations towards the Palestinian people in accordance with signed agreements.