Palestinian leaders are waging a war on Palestinians - opinion

How many Palestinians will be targeted and oppressed by their own leadership – for lack of a better term – before these self-proclaimed pro-Palestinian voices will speak up?

 PALESTINIANS CLASH with PA security forces during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, in Ramallah, last year. (photo credit: FLASH90)
PALESTINIANS CLASH with PA security forces during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, in Ramallah, last year.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) came out with a report criticizing the Palestinian leadership for widespread use of torture. While organizations like HRW are usually and disproportionately focused on condemning Israel, this is not the first report of its kind exposing the problems in Palestinian leadership, both in Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Shortly after, a report from UN Watch was released, detailing systemic torture of Palestinians. Within the week, a lawsuit was filed in the International Criminal seeking to hold the Palestinian leaders accountable.

The Palestinian Authority made international headlines last year with the murder of PA critic Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by PA security forces. To date, no one has been held accountable for his death, and many of his supporters and protesters have been arrested, as well, on charges of unlawful assembly, insulting higher authorities and inciting sectarian strife. Indeed, the PA has a habit of arresting regime critics, even for something as small as a Facebook post.

Palestinian punishment

Once arrested, Palestinians in the West Bank may face physical beatings, solitary confinement, the whipping of feet, forced confessions, stress positions for prolonged periods of time, inhumane prison conditions and more. The Independent Commission Human Rights (ICHR) received 252 complaints of torture and 279 of arbitrary arrest in the West Bank in 2021 alone. In Gaza, Palestinians fare even worse.

The terrorist organization Hamas is known for their draconian punishments and hardline Islamist positions. They have publicly executed dozens of collaborators with Israel, without any sort of due process, and they routinely bully, arrest and harm Palestinians who don’t fall in line with their terrorist agenda. They have also executed some of their own members for being gay and who can forget that they have started three wars with Israel in recent years resulting in a catastrophic humanitarian situation for the people of Gaza, all while their leaders enjoy a luxury life, in many cases, abroad.

 PALESTINIAN POLICEMEN face off against demonstrators in Ramallah in June, during protests following the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority.  (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS) PALESTINIAN POLICEMEN face off against demonstrators in Ramallah in June, during protests following the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

But despite all the testimonies and the evidence from Palestinians themselves, you wouldn’t even know such reports exist if you looked at the activities of pro-Palestinian groups abroad or at the social media feeds of the largest Free Palestine advocates. It’s been radio silence from notable activists like Mohamed El Kurd, Muna El Kurd, Miriam Barghouti, Ahed Tamimi and others on the reports of systemic torture of Palestinians at the hands of Palestinians

Palestinian human rights attorney Noura Erekat, who seemingly believes the Palestinian Authority (PA) should be dismantled for “collaborating” with Israel, hasn’t even commented on the recent reports on the torture of Palestinians at the hands of the PA or Hamas. Nerdeen Kiswani, most famous for her antisemitic calls to globalize the intifada in New York City, has not commented on the torture of Palestinians, nor has her organization Within Our Lifetime.

The official BDS movement, American Muslims for Palestine, as well as campus group Students for Justice in Palestine, have not shared any information on their social media accounts about the reports of torture and, strangely enough, the celebrities who are so quick to say “free Palestine” haven’t commented on the reports of torture either.

Based on the evidence, it would appear as if these activists don’t actually care about Palestinian lives unless they can blame Israel for a problem. The hypocrisy is staggering. How many Palestinians will be targeted and oppressed by their own leadership – for lack of a better term – before these self-proclaimed pro-Palestinian voices will speak up?

There is a war on Palestinians today, but it’s not being waged by Israel, it’s being waged by the undemocratic, corrupt, hypocritical Palestinian leaders. The entire “free Palestine” movement and its supporters have turned their backs on Palestinians and are willfully blind to the crimes against humanity they are suffering.

The writer is CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC and a human rights activist.