Abbas: Seeing Palestinian girls beat up Israeli troops fills my heart with joy

Palestinian Authority chief says having women at the forefront of protests ‘is our way to vanquish our enemies’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said earlier this month that seeing Palestinian girls assault Israeli troops “fills [his] heart with joy.”

Abbas praised the February protests against the Mideast plan released by US President Donald Trump and said, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute watchdog, that he wanted to see women at the forefront of the protests.

“The [women] should be in front at the protests,” Abbas said. “Seeing the girls beating up a policeman or a soldier really fills my heart with joy. This is how we want our peaceful popular resistance to be. This is our way to vanquish our enemies.”

In the days following the release of the plan, which was met with fierce criticism from Palestinian leaders, there were daily demonstrations in several West Bank hotspots, which in some cases turned into riots with the throwing of stones and firebombs at Israeli forces and civilian vehicles.

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli checkpoint during clashes with Israeli forces in the center of the flashpoint city of Hebron in the West Bank on February 4, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

It is unclear Abbas was referring to a specific recent incident or instead the case of teenager Ahed Tamimi, who became an icon of the Palestinian cause after she was jailed for eight months in an Israeli prison for slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in 2017.

Abbas also used his speech, aired on Palestine TV on March 1, to criticize unions in the West Bank for going on strike.

“I can’t pay their original salaries so how do they expect me to pay for a raise?” Abbas said.

Many Palestinians accuse the Palestinian Authority of rampant corruption and last year the West Bank was rocked by revelations that the PA government secretly gave itself a series of lavish payouts and perks, highlighted by a 67% salary hike.

The raises came despite Israel having frozen hundreds of millions of shekels in early 2019 over the PA’s payments to security prisoners, including terrorists, and their families, which Israel sees as a reward for terrorism. Abbas then declared that the Palestinians would not accept any taxes that the Jewish state gathers for them unless it transfers the full amount.

But in the ensuing months, the PA fell into a significant financial crisis and undertook a series of austerity measures including slashing the majority of its employees’ salaries. Finally in August, it accepted two billion shekels of the taxes from Israel even though Jerusalem continued to refuse to hand over the entire amount.

In early October, the PA accepted another large transfer of taxes from Israel. It has since been receiving the tax funds on a monthly basis. At that time, Israel also refused to transfer all of the funds.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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