The well-known mass chant of the Palestinian liberation movement "With our soul and blood we will redeem you" has rarely been so apt than in recent weeks.
This worldview is very difficult for many in the West to accept. Few can imagine a cause so important that they are prepared to sacrifice countless lives in order to achieve it.
Thus, it is arguably one of the major points of misunderstanding that people around the world have when they think of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. They believe it is a conflict conducted by mostly rational players in an attempt to get the best deal, mostly in terms of territory, for their people in a final peace deal.
However, the threat of the spread of the ccoronavirus, a crisis that is bringing economies to their knees around the world, is not the major priority of the Palestinian Authority (PA), even as lives continue to be lost in areas under its control.
On March 29th, according to Palestinian Media Watch, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh released a statement which stressed that because of the coronavirus, they will work according to an emergency austerity budget, and the PA government's revenues will drop by more than 50%.
Shtayyeh then laid out the list of priorities for his government's flagging resources.
They are mistaken, and now we have some evidence.
Murderers and attempted murderers are more important to the PA than teachers, public employees, and the poor.
One of the first groups that will be paid in full, despite the lack of funds and cost cutting measures elsewhere, was "prisoners and [the families of] the Martyrs," who will continue to receive generous stipends.
This group will be paid before teachers and public employees, and before welfare payments are made.
In other words, murderers, attempted murderers and their families are considered more important to the Palestinian Authority than the poor, workers and educators.
According to Maurice Hirsch, the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch who served previously as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria, the amount the PA is paying terrorists this month could buy them 387,143 coronavirus test kits or 465 ventilators instead. ...
The international community must present preconditions for further aid to the PA.
After the global coronavirus threat has hopefully receded, the economic ramifications will undoubtedly continue.
It is hoped that this will finally present an opportunity for a cash-strapped international community to present preconditions for any further aid. It should state clearly that it will no longer give the PA any more funds until it reverses its priorities and removes any and all stipends and financial rewards to its terrorists and their families.
The PA continues these payments because it sees them as a crucial step in the long road to ultimate victory over Israel, and in its over 100-year violent rejectionism of Jewish sovereignty.
The PA's victory priorities have to end.. Until then, there can no longer be any blank cheques from the international community. Nor should Israel bail it out with the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes it collects for the PA.
If the Palestinian leadership is so obsessed with putting victory over the welfare and development of its own people, ... no one should provide support and aid.
Alex Selsky is a member of the board of directors of and adviser to the Middle East Forum-Israel, which leads the Israel Victory Project, and a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.