Defense for Children International - Palestine

Introduction

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.

Several past and current DCI-P board members and employees have apparent ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel.

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian AuthoritySwitzerland
Websitehttp://www.dci-palestine.org
Founded1991
In their own wordsMission: “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.”

Funding

Activities

  • 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.

DCI-P Ties to the PFLP

Several past and current DCI-P board members and employees have apparent ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, and Israel.

Political Advocacy

  • Supports BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and is an active participant in lobbying the UNEU, 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.”
  • 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.”
  • 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.”
  • In April 2016, General Director Khaled Quzmar participated in a roundtable conversation that examined the “impact of prolonged military occupation on Palestinian youth.”
  • 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.”
    • Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
  • 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 OccupationAmerican Friends Service CommitteeAmerican Muslims for PalestineJewish Voice for Peace, and Middle East Children’s Alliance.
  • In June 2015, DCI-P lobbied extensively regarding a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging the “Department of State to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relationship with the government of Israel.” Other NGOs behind the lobbying were American Friends Service CommitteeJewish Voice for Peace, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli OccupationAmnesty International USA, and Pax Christi USA.
  • As a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), DCI-P referred to the resignation of William Schabas as the head of the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war as a “charade put up by Israel” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately far too common attempt to obstruct the work of the international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population.” In fact, the resignation followed revelations that Schabas had previously done legal work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a clear conflict of interest that would have disqualified him from the beginning if it had been disclosed. Furthermore, Schabas’ record of anti-Israel biases includes repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.
  • 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.”
  • In 2010, published a list alleging that 352 children died “as a direct result of Israel’s military offensive” in the 2009 Gaza war. (PCHR claimed that 313 children were killed during the fighting.)  Some of the individuals on DCI-P’s list, such as Ibrahim Mostafa Fraih Sa’id and Ibrahim Abed al-Rahim Rajab Suliman, have been identified by B’Tselem and PCHR as combatants. In these instances, DCI-P wrote, “Despite DCI-Palestine’s best endeavours to collect affidavits from eyewitnesses to [the child’s] death, no reliable evidence could be gathered.”
  • 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

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.”

BDS Activities

  • 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 February 2016, issued a joint 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).
  • 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.”

Partners

  • 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 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 DenmarkSwedenSwitzerland, 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.

2014-2018 Funding to DCI-P

DonorAmountYear(s)
Broederlijk Delen€40,0002016
EIDHR (European Union)€961,2982017
European Neighbourhood Instrument (European Union)€699,2362017
Secretariat$1,104,7002014-2017
Italy€878,1712015-2018
Netherlands€100,0002016
Rockefeller Brothers Fund$25,0002018
$25,0002017

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