Today, June 1st, Israel will mark two monumental events in its brief history. These events are the epitome of the abyss that divides us from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The first monumental event happened on Friday night, June 1st, 2001. Among the throngs of Israeli teenagers went out for their weekend entertainment, scores of them went to the popular Dolphinarium nightclub, situated on the Tel Aviv beach. As the kids stood outside, a Palestinian terrorist blew himself up. Twenty-one kids were murdered. Over a hundred were injured. Many of them carry their scars to this day.
While all civilized people see someone who walks into a crowd of teenagers and blows himself up with the intention of murdering as many people as possible as a heinous fiend, in the eyes of the PA, the suicide bomber is a “Martyr”.
According to the PA messaging, becoming a “Martyr” represents the highest religious achievement that can be attained by a Muslim. His death is celebrated as a “wedding” in which the “Martyr” marries 72 Dark-eyed virgins in paradise. A video clip, often broadcast on official PA TV, declares that “Life is insignificant… God, grant us Martyrdom”. In another video the PA stooped to new depths of depravity, turning to pregnant mothers saying that their fetus – yes a fetus – will be a “Martyr for Palestine.”
The terrorist who sent the suicide bomber, Raed Al-Houtari, was arrested almost two years later in March 2003. He was convicted and sentenced to twenty-two consecutive life sentences.
As part of its “Pay-for-Slay” policy, the PA pays monthly cash rewards to both the families of dead terrorists and to imprisoned terrorists.
PA Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, is directly responsible for these payments. In 2006, Abbas approved the regulations that codified the monthly salary payments paid by the PA to Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli prisons. In 2010, he approved a salary hike for the terrorist prisoners, including a 300% rise, from 4,000 shekels per month to 12,000 shekels per month for prisoners who serve more than 30 years in prison, i.e., murderers.
In 2007 and again in 2009 and 2013, Abbas approved a hike in the monthly allowances that the PA pays to the families of dead terrorists, including suicide bombers.
The PA has rewarded the family of the suicide bomber by paying them, cumulatively over the years, hundreds of thousands of shekels, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEIR SON IS A MASS MURDERER! The PA has rewarded Al-Houtari, by paying him cumulatively, 756,200 shekels (US$215,761/ €196,189). He will continue to receive a monthly salary from the PA, for the rest of his life, SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS A MASS MURDERER!
Having squandered no less than one billion, three hundred million shekels (hundreds of millions of dollars and euros), in 2018-2019 alone, incentivizing and rewarding terrorists, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the PA was already prepared with messages of doom and gloom.
Claiming that their income from taxes would decline and that their neglected medical system would not be able to cope with thousands of sick Palestinians, the PA, once again, put its hand out, begging the world for assistance.
While many countries answered the call and sent aid, in hindsight, it appears the PA was, once again, just crying wolf.
On the one hand, thankfully, the number of Palestinians who contracted Coronavirus was exceptionally limited – just over 600 cases. On the other hand, not only was there no reduction in the PA income from taxes, there was actually a substantial rise of 47% as compared to the first quarter of 2019.
In the interim period, the PA continued to prioritize the payment of the terror rewards over the medical needs of its population and continued to demonize Israel and Israelis as the source of all evil, including the spread of the Coronavirus.
At the same time, despite the malicious behavior of the PA leadership, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided to grant the PA an 800 million shekel loan, at exceptionally favorable terms, to bridge the gap in the PA income that never materialized. The first part of that loan, a monumental event in and of itself, will be given today to the PA.
While I believe that the decision to grant the loan was a mistake that undermines Israel’s best interests, beneath it hides the abyss that divides the Israeli leadership from the PA leadership.
The PA leadership sanctifies death, murder and hatred, and is proverbially and practically, “putting its money where its mouth is.” The Israeli leadership prioritizes life and is even willing to help those who hate us, if there is a possibility that it will save a life.
Tractate Sanhedrin of the Talmud teaches us that “Whoever destroys a soul of Israel, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life of Israel, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”
May the abyss that divides us reign supreme forever!