In a March 1, 2020 address that aired on Palestine TV, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the trade unions, among them the doctors' union, for demanding an increased salary and declaring a strike. He said that this is not the time to strike, considering the challenges that the Palestinians are facing with coronavirus, the Deal of the Century, and the financial siege by Israel. President Abbas went on to praise the recent protests in Hebron, Jerusalem, and Nablus, and he said: "The [women] should be in front at the protests... 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."
Mahmoud Abbas: "Some trade unions, like the doctors' union, have declared a strike. I believe that the engineers' union is about to declare a strike, too, followed by the accountants or whatever, and then the teachers, as if we are living in Switzerland... Why? They want a raise. What raise? They want to double their salaries. I can't pay their original salaries, so how do they expect me to pay for a raise? Nevertheless, I told them that if we overcome our financial crisis, and if our money stops being confiscated [by Israel] and things get better, we can talk about it. I met the people at the doctors' union, and their secretary-general. They had made me promises that they later recanted and declared a strike. Why a strike? Is it reasonable for the doctors' union to strike today when we are being confronted by the coronavirus? Even if there were no other [problems], once the coronavirus appeared, they should have dropped everything and went to work. The measures taken by the doctors are irresponsible. To declare a strike at a time like this, when we have the Deal of the Century on the one hand, and the economic and financial siege on the other hand, and on top of that, we have the coronavirus...
"Even if you were at the end of the world and completely busy, at a time like this, you must work, not strike.
"What you people are doing in Hebron these days... Are there any people from Hebron here? Wow! What you are doing at the Cave of the Patriarchs and in Jerusalem makes us really proud. Oh, and Nablus, too. What I saw in Nablus was great. This was the right thing to do. They need to understand that we are fighting with our eyes, our hands, our legs, and with everything, and that we will not allow them to toy with us. We are teaching them lessons. When they see unarmed people, people who have no weapons... Women and children chase [the Israelis] who run away from them... It makes me happy to see this. Really. This is our way to accomplish what we want. This is our way to accomplish what we want. By means of peaceful resistance, and with these efforts... The sisters should be in front at the protests. This is the most important thing. 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, and to achieve our independent state with Jerusalem as its capital."