Palestinians have been encouraged to believe that these actions, whether blowing up a bus or knifing an old man, are part of a sacred historic movement
A member of Fatah’s central committee, Jamal Muhaisen, quoting the Abbas position, said this is not an issue of money. Rather, it connects with the “Palestinian historical narrative.” The prisoners and martyrs “represent our Palestinian people’s struggle.” And Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research group which documents and translates public speeches, has found no evidence of any intention to stop the payments.
In fact, Palestinian leaders repeatedly stress that the salaries will not be stopped. The recipients, having grown used to this subsidy, would feel cheated if it disappeared. They are encouraged to believe that their actions, whether blowing up a bus or knifing an old man, are part of a sacred historic movement.
Meeting with families of “martyrs,” the PA prime minister, Rama Allahabad, assured them that they will continue receiving the money, and further emphasized the PA’s admiration for the “martyrs”:
“I salute all of the martyrs’ families. I emphasize to them that their rights are protected, and we will continue our diligent work with the relevant PLO institutions to fulfill our basic, humanitarian, and national obligations towards them. We remember the sacrifices and struggle of the pure martyrs, guardians of the land and identity who have turned our people’s cause into a historical epic of struggle and resolve.”
A Fatah official, Abbas Zaki, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, emphasized that the prisoners’ issue is one of the top priorities of the leadership, and that the leadership will not submit “to the American and Israeli pressures in any attempt to harm the salaries of the families of the martyrs.” It is not negotiable, according to a PLO official, Ahmed Majdalani: “It is a political, national, and moral issue.”
The best that the Palestinian families can hope for is that the PA will continue making payments while hiding them as “humanitarian and social aid to needy families,” to satisfy donor countries. In 2014, the PA closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs but continued the salaries through the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs. The PA is looking for a new way to accept the international demands and yet continue paying terrorists, according to some Palestinian sources. Madurai Fares, the chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club, said there will be no changes. In his view, a Palestinian consensus opposes any changes concerning this “noble fighter” group.
That’s the point. This story forces us to understand that many Palestinians (and certainly the leaders they elect) assume that terrorists who randomly slaughter men, women and children are heroes. They believe they are fighting ruthlessly for their homeland, but they’re actually making a mockery of the peace process they claim to support.