Several newly published analyses illustrate that Palestinian Authority (PA) residents have more reason to fear their own leadership than they do Israel.
For example, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, blame for the electricity crisis now plaguing Gaza lies with Hamas, which shut down a major local energy plant when it ran out of fuel.
The Fatah regime in the West Bank and its Hamas counterpart in Gaza have alternated between fighting over energy supplies and collaborating on an electricity scam that has resulted in U.S. taxpayers providing financial support to Hamas in violation of law.
Veteran Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes that when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, "the Palestinians had the opportunity to turn the coastal area into the world's Singapore. Everyone, including Israel and Jews living in the United States and Canada, was prepared to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."
But instead of peace, Hamas and other jihadist groups turned the area into an armed camp, following a course of action that has "brought nothing but death and destruction to the residents of the Gaza Strip," Abu Toameh writes.
The violence appears to be chasing away potential aid donors. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh returned from recent visits to countries including Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar with numerous promises of financial aid to "rebuild" Gaza.
But over the years, Gazans have been promised billions of dollars' worth of assistance that has never materialized. Arabs and Muslims are reluctant to transfer funds to Gaza because they "know that money will go to purchasing missiles and ammunition there instead of building new schools and hospitals," Abu Toameh writes.
Commentary magazine's Jonathan Tobin provides a different example of how Palestinian leaders abuse their people – in this case, by recruiting children "into gangs explicitly tasked with starting violent confrontations with Israelis by the throwing of stones and other lethal weapons, hoping the [Israel Defense Force] soldiers will defend themselves and kill one of the kids."
On Sunday, the New York Times published a story about a 15-year-old boy who was arrested and interrogated by the Israeli military after joining one of these gangs. He told the Israelis the names of several of his confederates, who were arrested. After noting that the Times story focuses heavily on the boy's fear of the Israeli military, Tobin suggests this is a false narrative.
"More likely, he is afraid of revenge from other Palestinians who treat people who inform on those involved in violence as 'traitors,'" Tobin writes. "The real scandal is the willingness of Palestinians to sacrifice children…on the altar of hate for Israel."