The NGO Campaign

The Palestinian NGO Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), which has alleged ties to the PFLP and supports BDS campaigns against Israel, is the most prominent NGO in this campaign. In the US and Canada, it leads “No Way to Treat a Child,” which seeks to lobby governments to “use all available means to pressure the Israeli government to end the detention and abuse of Palestinian children.” DCI-P’s campaign partners similarly support BDS campaigns, demonstrating that the nature of the campaign exploits Palestinian children for political gain.

DCI-P’s No Way to Treat a Child report, which underpins most of the lobbying, makes numerous false and misleading claims about the IDF and Israeli Military Courts. For instance, DCI-P:

  • Falsely claims that minors are placed in solitary confinement. In reality, international and domestic law forbids minors from being held with the adult population. Therefore, if a sole minor is arrested, they must be held separately. o
  • Condemns Israel’s use of military courts. Yet under the legal paradigm used by DCI-P (concerning occupation under international humanitarian law), Israel is required to use such courts exclusively.
  • States that innocent Palestinian minors accused of involvement in violent crimes accept plea bargains, even if they are innocent. This occurs when DCI-P staff lawyers ostensibly represent these minors in court. If true, this would be an ethical violation, if not malpractice.
  • Claims that Palestinian minors’ confessions were acquired through violence and torture. If true, DCI-P had a duty to report this to the proper authorities and raise it before the court to achieve a dismissal. Again, failure to do so would be an ethical violation, if not malpractice.
  • Refused in 2013 to be included on a list of attorneys with whom Palestinian minor suspects could consult. DCI-P lobbying resulted in proposed legislation from US Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN)  “to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children” (November 2017). In addition to several leading BDS NGOs endorsed the legislation and the entirety of the proposed billis premised on factually inaccurate claims from anti-Israel advocacy NGOs, including direct quotes from DCIP’s “No Way to Treat a Child” 2016 report and website. The sections that reference reports from the US State Department and UNICEF originate with these same NGOs (although McCollum’s office selectively quotes, hiding the origins) (see NGO Monitor’s analysis of the legislation)

NGO Members of the “No Way to Treat a Child” Campaign

NGOs that Endorsed Congresswoman McCollum’s Legislation