Many voices have praised Israel's decision to provide medical treatment to COVID-stricken PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat, arguing that it shows Israel's superior morality.
But while providing treatment to a man responsible for the countless deaths of innocent Israelis might play well on social media, that doesn't make it moral.
Saeb Erekat is a terrorist. He is not a terrorist with a gun or a suicide belt, but he is a terrorist nonetheless.
For the past three decades, Erekat has been one of the most prominent Palestinian Arab leaders responsible for inciting terrorism and hatred against Israel.
He has done it all – from spreading vicious blood libels against IDF soldiers to justifying stabbing attacks and praising terrorists.
In fact, Erekat was transferred to Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center just one day after the 19th anniversary of the murder of Israeli minister Rehavam Ze'evi, whose assassination was planned by the PFLP terror group head Ahmad Sa'adat, a dear friend of Erekat.
In 2010, Erekat even sent Sa'adat a warm letter expressing his "strongest emotions of solidarity and brotherhood." Calling Sa'adat his "dear brother," Erekat praised his "steadfast resistance" and wished that they will "meet soon and celebrate the victory, liberation and freedom."
As head of the PLO, Erekat is involved in incentivizing terrorism by facilitating "pay-to-slay" payments to Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Jews.
A propagator of BDS, Erekat actively lobbies the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel for war crimes and even petitioned the European Union against its decision to cut funding of Palestinian Arab NGOs that refuse to denounce terrorism.
Is it really moral to provide such a person with VIP treatment funded by the Israeli taxpayer? I would argue no.
It is spitting in the faces of the citizens of Israel and of all those bereaved families whose loved ones were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorism. It conveys the message that the humanity of our enemies comes before the humanity of our own citizens.
Arguments that refusing treatment to Erekat would somehow hurt Israel's international image are understandable, although Israel's humanitarian gestures have long fallen on deaf ears. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that it is the moral thing to do, or that it is a Jewish value to help an evil man with so much blood on his hands.
What is done is done, and now that Erekat is intubated, Israel cannot halt his treatment. But Israel could have told Erekat to go elsewhere and respect the boycott that his cronies in the Palestinian Authority instituted last year against Israeli hospitals.
There are hospitals in Jordan, Turkey, and yes, even in the Palestinian Authority. If only Erekat would've used some of his estimated five million dollar net worth toward improving medical care instead of embezzling money from his own people, he could have received proper care in a Palestinian Authority hospital.
So yes, now we get to tell the world how humane Israel is because we provided treatment to our enemy (as if that will change anyone's mind about the conflict). But at what cost?
If he dies, Israel will undoubtedly be blamed just as when Erekat peddled the lie that Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat. If he recovers, it will show Erekat and the rest of the Palestinian Arab leadership that intransigence and terrorism pays off.
The famous saying from the Talmudic Midrash, "He who is merciful to the cruel will ultimately be cruel to the merciful," has never been more relevant.
Eytan Meir is the director of external relations and development for Im Tirtzu, Israel's largest grassroots Zionist movement. imti.org.il/en