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.

Numerous individuals with alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the USEUCanada, 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.”

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
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 Ties to the PFLP

Political Advocacy

  • DCI-P is active in a campaign, using false charges of abuse of Palestinian children, to include the IDF on the list of “grave violators” of child’s rights, published annually by the UN Secretary-General. According to a November 2019 interview with DCI-P Accountability Program Director Eyad Abu-Eqtaish, DCI-P “seeks to put the occupation on the ‘list of shame’ which the UN publishes annually via the reports it submits to international organizations on the challenges Palestinian children face….He clarified that reports have been submitted to many parties in the human rights council, specifically after the return marches, which included all the killing actions of Palestinian children, in addition to a file presented to the ICC concerning prisoner children which face torture.” (Translated by NGO Monitor) (Read NGO Monitor’s Report “UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children.)
  • 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.”
  • DCI-P, together with the Spanish NGO Mundubat, runs the platform “The other Jerusalem,” which “questions the illegal Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as the false notion of a ‘unified Jerusalem’.” One of their “action points” offers visitors to sign a petition calling “on the European Union, United Nations Secretariat, and members of the UN Security Council to take urgent action that ends and holds Israeli authorities accountable for systemic and deliberate discrimination toward Palestinians in Jerusalem.”
  • In July 2020, DCI-P was a signatory on an urgent appeal to the United Nations referring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.”

Lawfare

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

  • In September 2020, DCI-P called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” DCI-P called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
  • In May 2020, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
  • 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.”

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 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 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.

2016-2022 Funding to DCI-P

DonorAmountYear(s)
Broederlijk Delen€92,9002017-2019
EIDHR (European Union)€961,2982017
European Neighbourhood Instrument (European Union)€699,2362017
Italy€878,1712015-2018
Netherlands€100,0002016
Rockefeller Brothers Fund$25,0002018
$25,0002017
Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD)€799,3622019-2021
Municipality of Vitoria-Gasteiz€67,6822019-2020
Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)€449,7352020-2022

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Further Reading