Established in 1991, DCI-P is the national section of the Geneva-based Defense for Children International, an NGO established in 1979, with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe.
Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel, have been employed and appointed as board members at DCI-P. For more information on DCI-P’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terror Group.”
|In their own words||Mission: “Promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as well as other international, regional and local standards.”|
- In 2014, total revenue was $1.4 million; total expenses were $1.3 million (latest available; accessed January 27, 2020).
- Donors include European Union, Italy, Netherlands, Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Save the Children, and UNICEF. (See table below for further funding information.)
- DCI-P fundraises in Canada via the United Church of Canada.
- In 2017-2019, DCI-P received $90,000 from Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
- In 2017-2019, the European Commission granted €699,236 to DCI-P for a project titled “strengthening community resilience and social cohesion in East Jerusalem on both sides of the separation wall.” The project included five Palestinian NGOs recipients, including Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Land Research Center, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development Association.
- Several past and current UPWC employees have apparent ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. UPWC is also active in supporting BDS campaigns and utilizing inflammatory rhetoric.
- Bisan Center for Research and Development has reported ties to the PFLP. Izzat Abdulhadi, a former director of Bisan, is reported to be a PFLP member. According to the Palestinian organizations Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and Addameer, Bisan Executive Director Eteraf Rimawi was arrested six times by Israeli forces between 1995 and 2014. Rimawi was reportedly sentenced for 16-months in prison and fined NIS 5,000 in 2000. During his detention in 2008, an Israeli military judge affirmed that “Eteraf was active in political activities related to the PFLP.”
- According to information released by donors, DCI-P received a core funding grant of $1,104,700 (2014-2017) from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (a joint funding mechanism of Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland that closed in 2017).
- Between 2013-2017, DCI-P was an implementing partner in UNICEF funded projects totaling $1.4 million (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). It is unclear how much DCI-P received from this funding.
- In January 2017, DCI-P was awarded the Stars Impact Award from The Stars Foundation, receiving $50,000 for “capacity building support.”
- DCI-P leads the campaign exploiting children to promote demonization of Israel, and is linked to the PFLP terror group. Many of its allegations are false and part of attempts to smear Israel with allegations of “war crimes” and promote BDS.
- Supports BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and is an active participant in lobbying the UN, EU, foreign governments, and other international bodies to promote this agenda.
- Calls for Israel to “accept historical and legal responsibility for the Nakba, and recognise the principle of the right to return that was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution No. 194 in 1948.”
- In January 2020, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), of which DCI-P is a member, vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
DCI-P Ties to the PFLP
- On June 26, 2018, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) announced that after presenting evidence of the close ties between DCI-P and the PFLP to Citibank and Arab Bank PLC, “these banks no longer provide banking services to the terror linked NGO.”
- Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel, have been employed and appointed as board members at DCI-P. For more information on DCI-P’s PFLP ties, read NGO Monitor’s report “DCI-P’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Organization.”
- Hashem Abu Maria “served as the coordinator of DCI-P’s community mobilization unit.” In July 2014, Abu Maria was killed during a violent confrontation in Beit Ummar. Following his death, he was hailed by the PFLP as a “leader,” which issued an official mourning announcement. The PFLP announcement praised his work for DCI-P, stating “he was in the ranks of the national liberation struggle and the PFLP from an early age.”
- On September 23, 2014, DCI-P uploaded a video of a memorial service for Abu Maria, featuring a speech by DCI-P General Director, Rifat Odeh Kassis. The courtyard where the memorial service took place was decorated with PFLP flags, posters, and pictures of prominent PFLP figures, such as founder George Habash and former leader Ahmed Sa’adat. Nearly all of the audience were dressed in PFLP apparel.
- Riyad Arrar, Director of DCI-P’s Child Protection Program, addressed a December 2014 PFLP memorial event for a group member who was killed “while engaging in a demonstration confronting the occupation forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.” The event featured PFLP paraphernalia and individuals clad in military garb – some of whom appear to be children (video on file with NGO Monitor).
- Nassar Ibrahim, President of DCI-P’s General Assembly until at least 2017, is the former editor of El Hadaf– the PFLP’s weekly publication. In May 2014, the PFLP unveiled a mural “developed by writer and journalist Nassar Ibrahim,” honoring PFLP founder George Habash. Several PFLP members attended and spoke at the event.
- Mahmoud Jiddah, DCI-P board member from at least 2012 through 2016, was imprisoned by Israel for 17 years for carrying out “grenade attacks” against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem in 1968.
- Hassan Abed Jawad, DCI-P board member from 2012-2018, has spoken on behalf of the PFLP at an event commemorating a PFLP member who was killed “while engaging in a demonstration confronting the occupation forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.”
- Mary Rock, DCI-P board member from 2014-2018, was a PFLP candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council in the 2006 elections. Rock also attended a 2012 PFLP event honoring former Bethlehem mayor Victor Batarseh.
- In 2012, Samer Ajaj, DCI-P Coordinator of Community Empowerment, appears to have run for elected office in Nabulus as a member of a list jointly controlled by the PFLP and another Palestinian organization.
- From 2005–2009, Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, was a member of DCI-P’s Board of Directors. According to a 1995 Israeli submission to the UN, Jabarin was convicted in 1985 for recruiting and arranging training for members for the PFLP. A 1994 Israeli statement to the UN notes that he “had not discontinued his terrorist involvement and maintains his position in the leadership of the PFLP.” Jabarin has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan on several occasions due to alleged ties to the PFLP terrorist group. A June 2007 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court called Jabarin a “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” a human rights campaigner by day and a terrorist by night.
- Fatima Daana, an attorney and board member in 2012-2018, is the widow of Raed Nazzal, the former commander of the PFLP’s armed wing (the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades) in Qalqilya. Nazzal was responsible for several terrorist attacks and was killed in 2002 in a shootout with IDF forces.
- While at DCI-P, former director Rifat Odeh Kassis “coordinate[d] Kairos Palestine and oversaw the drafting of its founding statement.” The Kairos Palestine document advocates BDS targeting Israel, noting that “These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil.” In addition, it denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
- On May 18, 2019, Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC), of which DCI-P is a member, was a signatory on a statement referring to all of Jerusalem as “occupied,” and called for the UN to “take a firm stand against…unlawful unilateral measures to be taken by the U.S. in favor of an unveiled attempt at legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise, occupation and colonization.” The statement further called to “Ban Israeli settlement products” and “Impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on individuals that are identified as responsible for or complicit in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
- In January 2019, during the violence on the Gaza border, DCI-P, alongside CUNY School of Law Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic, filed a submission to the UN replete with egregiously false statements, gross distortions of the law and the facts, and the whitewashing of terror groups including Hamas. (See here for NGO Monitor’s letter to CUNYLaw.)
- Since December 2013, DCI-P has been partnering with Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) for an ongoing campaign titled “Know Your Rights,” seeking to “inform Palestinian children who are arrested, detained, interrogated and tried through the Israeli Military Court system of their legal rights throughout the entire process.” The campaign relies on an inaccurate March 2013 UNICEF report that alleged “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” ill-treatment of children within the system. DCI-P and LPHR omit that Israel established a military juvenile tribunal, which entitles minors to significantly better conditions than adults. The group also disregards the circumstances that may have led to such arrests, such as terror activity and violence.
- In the summer of 2018, DCI-P partnered with Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) for a spurious campaign titled “Demand Child Justice: Document Detention in the occupied Palestinian territories,” which purports to document “cases of mistreatment experienced by Palestinian youth.” In this campaign, DCI-P makes numerous false and misleading claims about the IDF and Israeli Military Courts. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System.”)
- In November 2017, DCI-P was a signatory on a call to support “A World Without Walls,” drawing comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
- On April 17, 2017, DCI-P, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day stating that “This year marks 50 years of torture of Palestinian political prisoners through a military system which has historically been endemic and various forms of physical and psychological torture and ill-treatment,” and calling on the International Criminal Court to “open an investigation into the case of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and bring those who have tortured, extrajudicially executed, forcibly transferred, and arbitrary (sic) detained Palestinians to be held to accountable.”
- On March 3, 2016, DCI-P released a statement accusing Israeli forces of “implementing a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial killings.”
- This claim has been refuted by the International Committee of the Red Cross who stated in April 2017 that “we came to the unequivocal conclusion that there are no shoot to kill orders of suspects by IDF, as some political elements tried to convince us.”
- In November 2016, DCI-P co-authored a submission to Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories, on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi, a fieldworker for the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) as a “human rights defender.”
- On July 29, 2015, International Advocacy Officer Brad Parker spoke at a Congressional briefing “Gaza One Year Later: The Quest for Accountability,” to “examine Israel’s misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons in Gaza and call on lawmakers to hold Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. and international law.” Parker accused Israel of violating international law and “indiscriminate attacks.” This event was sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Middle East Children’s Alliance.
- Following the 2010 “Free Gaza flotilla,” DCI-P joined a number of other political advocacy NGOs in petitioning “the international community as a whole,” to “enforce sanctions against Israel until such time as ends the siege of Gaza and the occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.” The same letter urged the EU to “suspend or cancel the EU-Israel Association Agreement” and demanded that “the UN  act immediately to implement the recommendations of the Goldstone report.”
- Published a 2009 “urgent appeal,” calling the UN Human Rights Council members to “endorse all the recommendations contained in the Goldstone report…and submit the report to the General Assembly and the Prosecutor of the ICC for appropriate action.”
No Way to Treat a Child
- In 2015, DCI-P and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) initiated a campaign, “No Way to Treat a Child,” to “challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” The groups call upon the United States government to pressure Israel to end “abuse of Palestinian children,” and encourage supporters to write members of congress on behalf of their cause. The campaign claims that a letter addressed to President Obama calling for the establishment of a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children, initiated by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and signed by 20 US congressmen, was a “direct response” to demands made by its supporters.
- “National campaign partners” include: “American Muslims for Palestine, Amnesty International-USA, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Friends of Sabeel North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, Mennonite Central Committee US, and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
- The campaign sponsors events across the United States, with partner organizations including Kairos Puget Sound Coalition and Jewish Voice for Peace.
- In August 2017, DCI-P launched its No Way to Treat a Child campaign in Canada.
- In November 2017, DCI-P endorsed US Congresswoman McCollum’s proposed legislation “to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.” The entirety of the proposed bill is premised on factually inaccurate claims from anti-Israel advocacy NGOs, including direct quotes from DCI-P’s “No Way to Treat a Child” 2016 report and website.
- In May 2019, McCollum introduced a new bill largely based on lobbying efforts and accusations of DCI-P. The new legislation, which would result in $19 million US taxpayer funding to be allocated to DCI-P and its NGO allies, includes several inaccurate factual claims and distortions of international law, and applies standards to Israel that are not applied in the US. According to Brad Parker, DCI-P Senior Adviser for Policy and Advocacy, the bill “is sending a clear message to Israeli authorities that the systemic impunity enjoyed for so long concerning widespread ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees must end.”
- In June 2017, DCI-P and AFSC organized a congressional briefing about “how persistent human rights violations, systematic impunity, discrimination and a hyper-militarized environment affect the lives of the Palestinian children growing up under a military occupation with no end in sight.” Speakers included Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch and Nadia Ben-Youssef of Adalah.
- At the event, Ben-Youssef claimed that “since the Israeli legal system—as the state—was founded on Jewish supremacy, the lives of Palestinians are not valued.” She falsely claimed that “There’s no right to equality in Israel—it’s not enshrined in law because [Israel] cannot protect equality and protect [Jewish] privilege.” Ben-Youssef added, “Nakba. Remember that name, say that name. It means catastrophe in Arabic, and it refers to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.”
Allegations of “war crimes”
- Accused Israel of “deliberate targeting of civilians” in Lebanon, “terrorizing the civilian population” in Gaza, and “collective punishment,” and referred to the Gaza conflict as Israel’s “illegal act of aggression.”
- On January 20, 2016, DCI-P released a document titled “How was 2015 for Palestinian children?,” accusing Israeli forces of using “excessive force” and “grave violations against children amounting to war crimes.”
- In April 2015, DCI-P published “Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged on Gaza’s Children,” accusing Israel of “overwhelming and repeated evidence of international humanitarian law violations committed by Israeli forces. These included direct attacks on children, and indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilian homes, schools, and residential neighborhoods.”
- In a statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2015, DCI-P called on UN members “to challenge systemic impunity for violations of Palestinian children’s rights by Israeli forces,” and demanded that Israel end its prolonged “eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip, a form of collective punishment prohibited under international law.”
- In January 2014, International Advocacy Officer Brad Parker accused the U.S. government of playing a “role in blocking international efforts to hold Israel accountable” in the face of “damning evidence of war crimes.”
- In 2018-2019, DCI-P lobbied intensively in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. DCI-P has signed multiple letters to the UN calling for the database to be implemented without further delay.
- In November 2019, as a member of PNGO and PHROC, DCI-P signed a statement calling for the “international community to immediately impose sanctions on the State of Israel and illegal Israeli settlements” and “implement domestic legislation to prohibit and criminalize the import of illegal settlement goods and services into their territory.”
- In September 2019, DCI-P US Advocacy Officer Shaina Low spoke at an American Friends Service Committee event in Washington DC that focused on “Palestinian children’s rights,” ending the blockade in Gaza, and “our rights to support BDS.”
- In May 2019, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement calling on the German Bundestag to revoke its joint resolution defining BDS campaigns against Israel as antisemitic.
- On May 15, 2018, DCI-P signed a joint letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling for sanctions against Israel. The letter demanded that the State Department “Investigate Israel’s Use of Lethal Force in Gaza” and “halt any further assistance to all Israeli military units involved in these shootings” of Palestinians participating in the violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border.
- In February 2017, as a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), released a statement calling upon “the international community to abide by their international obligations” and “act immediately by imposing sanctions against Israel,” as a result of the passing of the “Regularization Law,” which is “another brazen tool for Israel to confiscate privately held and registered Palestinian property for its illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In August 2016, submitted a joint complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur concerning review of the residency status of Omar Barghouti, a prominent proponent of BDS. The statement falsely describes BDS as “peacefully pursu[ing] a human rights agenda based on an international law framework”; in fact, BDS are tactics of political warfare, based on the exploitation of human rights double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.”
- In September 2015, DCI-P was a signatory on a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the UN to “end its relationship with G4S” as G4S is “complicit with Israel’s human rights violations.”
- In August 2015, DCI-P created a petition titled “Stop arming Israeli military units violating human rights,” urging President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron to “investigate and impose an immediate arms embargo on Israeli military units that violate human rights and international humanitarian law.”
- In June 2011, DCI-P signed a statement calling on the Dutch government to “promptly reconsider its participation in businesses of the Veolia Group” as Veolia is “directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in the OPT and is facilitating Israel’s attempt to ensure its annexation of East Jerusalem is irreversible.”
- DCI-P is a signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS.”
- DCI-P is a member of UNICEF’s “Working Group on Grave Violations against Children”aimed at undertaking “consolidated efforts to monitor and report on grave violations against children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).” (Read NGO Monitor’s Report “UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children.)
- Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which was instrumental in producing many of the preparatory documents for the Durban 2001 conference including the document calling for embargoes on Israel.
- In January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
- In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
- Member of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
- On November 16, 2017, PHROC released a statement “in solidarity” with the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC) following the decision of the Secretariat (joint funding from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) to pull funding from WATC due to its naming of a youth center after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
- In February 2016, PHROC issued a statement that “For decades, Israel has failed to uphold its duties as Occupying Power and has instead deepened its occupation and regime of colonialism and apartheid” and “affirm[ed] the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions, and calls on states and businesses to uphold their related legal responsibilities” and stated that the EU November 2015 labeling move against Israeli settlement products is “insufficient,” calling for a complete ban (emphasis added).
- Member of the “Displacement Work Group,” an initiative of Badil and OCHA to “monitor human rights violations (evictions, home demolitions, land confiscations) resulting in the displacement of people from their lands and communities,” along with: Addameer, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, AIC, ARIJ, Badil, BIMKOM, B’Tselem, CARE Intnl., Diakonia, EAPPI, Ir Amim, ICAHD, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Oxfam UK, Oxfam Solidarite – Belgium, PA Govt. Spokesperson, PCHR, RHR, Society of St. Yves, Save the Children UK, Shatil, UNFPA, Stop the Wall, ACRI, UNFPA, Yesh Din, and World Vision.
2014-2019 Funding to DCI-P
|EIDHR (European Union)||€961,298||2017|
|European Neighbourhood Instrument (European Union)||€699,236||2017|
|Rockefeller Brothers Fund||$25,000||2018|
- Outgoing Prosecutor Reveals Details about Secret Dialogue with UNICEF Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2017
- Children's Rights Group Using Blood Libel Against Israel to Raise Money The Algemeiner, October 3, 2013
- Child soldiers of Hamas not the sole victims of a conflict clouded by propaganda Gerald M. Steinberg, The Australian, December 3, 2011