The crisis is entirely of Israel and Washington's making. Keen to pander to hawkish public opinion in the run-up to last month's election, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a severe blow against Mahmoud Abbas and his government-in-permanent-waiting.
He announced that Israel would withhold a portion of the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, and which it is obligated under the Oslo accords to pass on to the PA, based in the West Bank.
The money deducted is the sum the PA transfers as stipends to the families of political prisoners and those killed and maimed by the Israeli army.
This is an incendiary issue, as Netanyahu well knows, given that Palestinians view these families as having made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle to liberate their people from brutal Israeli occupation.