While some Westerners seem to think they are supporting the Palestinian cause by blaming the current turmoil in Gaza and the West Bank solely on Israel, at least some Palestinians have moved beyond such easy explanations and faced the unpleasant facts.
In a series of newspaper columns this year, Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, warned Palestinians that they were largely to blame for rising partisan strife and their own poor image in the world. Across the territories, growing numbers of people locate responsibility for their plight closer to home, even though collapse of the rule of law in their communities can make it more dangerous to state such a sentiment.
“It couldn’t be worse,” said Maher el-Sheikh, the weary managing editor of [the leading Palestinian newspaper] al-Quds. Asked where the responsibility rested for the Palestinians’ current predicament, Sheikh said, “On the heads of my own people.”
Khalil Abu Arafeh, a former prisoner of Israel and a cartoonist for al-Quds, has bravely mocked leaders of both Fatah and Hamas– and been threatened for doing it.
“I think we have a regional conflict in the Palestinian territories,” Abu Arafeh said, “and it’s not a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.”