The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed its deep concern over the illegal mass arrest campaign conducted by the Palestinian Security Services, during which, more than 20 teachers at public schools were arrested on grounds of organizing a sit-in on Tuesday, 16 February 2016, in front of the Council of Ministers in Ramallah.  During the sit-in, the teachers called upon the government to apply the agreement reached between the later and the Teachers Union in September 2013.  PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Security Services to immediately release the arrested teachers and put an end to all measures taken to pursue all teachers, who participated in the strike.  PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian government to respect the Union’s right to function freely according to the Palestinian Basic Law and all international human rights standards and to fulfill its obligations by implementing the abovementioned 2013 agreement.

According to PCHR’s investigations, on Tuesday, 16 February 2016, teachers at public schools in the West Bank organized a sit-in, during which around 20,000 teachers participated to call for the implementation of the 2013 agreement.  On the same day night, the Palestinian Security Services launched an arrest campaign, during which 20 teachers were arrested.  This happened after raiding the teachers’ houses late at night without showing arrest warrants.

In Hebron, Palestinian General Intelligence Services (GIS) arrested Ziad ‘Ali al-Darabi’a (47), Principal of al-Bayader School, from his house in Hadab al-‘Alqah village, south of Dura, southwest of the city; Basel Ahmed Salim Dawawin (38) from al-‘Aqlah village, southeast of Dura and Mohammed Abu ‘Ajamiyah from al-Fawar refugee camp.  Meanwhile, the Preventive Security Services (PSS) arrested 8 teachers identified as Yousif Salamah ‘Abdul Muhsen Abu Ras (43) from al-Tabaqah, south of Dura; Ibrahim ‘Ezzat al-‘Asafrah (48) from Beit Kahel village, northeast of Hebron; ‘Ali Mahmoud Noah ‘Aqel (51) from Halhoul; Mahmoud al-Sharouf from Nubba village; Mohammed Abu ‘Aram; Qays Abu Zahrah and Anis Abu Zahrah from Yata.

In Qalqilya, at approximately 22:30, PSS officers raided two houses belonging to Mer’ie Nassar ‘Abdul Hadi (37) from Jeensafout village and Kenan ‘Abdel Ra’ouf Mohammed ‘Odah (40) from Kafr Tholth village, east of the city.  They arrested the two aforementioned teachers and took them to an unknown destination.

In Tulkarm, GIS officers arrested four teachers identified as Sadiq Samih Sadeq al-Qarout (51); ‘Alaa’ Rashad Taher Jayousi (28); Munir Mustafa Ahmed Abu Thiab (46) and Ra’ed Mohammed Dureidi (40).  Meanwhile, PSS officers arrested two teachers identified as Mohammed Hamdan Farekh and ‘Amer Barouq.

In Jenin, GIS officers arrested two teachers identified as Hasan Ahmed Zayed (54) and Tariq Ziad Mohammed Sammar (29); both from al-Yamoun village, northwest of Jenin.

PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Government and law enforcement services to:

  • Respect the rule of law and provisions of the amended Palestinian Basic Law, including the third and fourth paragraphs of Article 25 that ensures the union’s right to function freely and to strike within the limits of law;
  • Respect its legal obligations resulting from acceding to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which guarantees the respect and protection of union’s right to function freely and to strike in conformity with the applicable law; and
  • Immediately release all teachers, who were illegally arrested, put an end to all security pursuits against teachers, who participated in the Teachers Union’s activities, and implement the agreement reached between the government and teachers in September 2013 to improve the teachers’ economic and social conditions.