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Palestine government, union agree to end medical strike

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh leads the weekly cabinet meeting which is held in the West Bank on 16 September 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh leads the weekly cabinet meeting which is held in the West Bank on 16 September 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian government yesterday signed an agreement with the Medical Association putting an end to nearly a month of strikes and demands for overdue benefits.

The signing was attended by Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, Health Minister, Dr. Mai Al- Kileh, and head of the Medical Association, Dr. Shawqi Abu-Sabha, in the prime minister’s office in Ramallah.

Shtayyeh thanked the Medical Association for understanding the financial constraints imposed on the Palestinian Authority by the United States and Israel, adding that the union’s demands are legitimate and some of them are achievable while others need funding which is currently unavailable.

“We must preserve the health sector in a spirit of democracy and understanding. For us, it was the first test in the disengagement from the [Israeli] occupation and President Mahmoud Abbas is keen on this important sector,” Shtayyeh said, adding that 298 doctors, nurses and health workers will be employed in 2020 to reduce the work burden on the public sector medical staff.

He explained that the recruitment process will start next week, in a way that enhances the Palestinian medical team’s efficiency.

Shtayyeh stressed that ending the association’s strike came at the appropriate time as doctors are now leading an important battle against the coronavirus.

READ: Bethlehem in lockdown following suspected cases of coronavirus

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