Defense for Children International - Palestine


As a national section of Defense for Children International (DCI), DCI-P utilizes DCI’s consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe status to attend UN fora. However, DCI-P “is an autonomous organization that raises its own funds and develops its own programs in response to contextual needs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

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.”


Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
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.”



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 October 2023, in the aftermath of the brutal Hamas attack on October 7, DCI-P Advocacy Officer Miranda Cleland tweeted, “It is beyond insulting and blatantly racist to assume Palestinians resisting Israeli colonization & trying to take back their land will result in anti-Semitic attacks in DC. What a joke” (emphasis added). Cleland shared a statement by the Mayor of DC condemning the Hamas attacks and committing to protect the Jewish community in DC.
  • In October 2023, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement demanding that the “EU leadership must put an end to its double standards and complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.” According to DCI-P, “For violence to end, European leaders must address and eradicate the root causes of the ongoing violence, namely, Israel’s seven-decade long settler-colonial enterprise and oppression of the Palestinian people…The EU must intervene to ensure that Israel dismantles its discriminatory apartheid regime, including by rescinding all discriminatory laws and facilitating the right of return and to self-determination of the Palestinian people…The resounding silence of the EU leadership on Israeli atrocities committed in Gaza and their blind support for Israel signals that the EU is green-lighting, enabling and encouraging Israel’s military actions, which already may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and incitement to commit genocide.”
  • In May 2023, following comments by the EU Commission President celebrating Israel’s Independence Day, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement accusing the president of “using racist anti-Palestinian tropes and denying Palestinian history and the atrocities of the Nakba.”
  • In May 2023, DCI-P  was a signatory on a statement “condemn[ing] the calculated and cold-blooded slow-killing of 45-year-old Khader Adnan—father, husband, Palestinian activist, and former prisoner—by the Israeli occupying authorities in the early hours of Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Khader was a reputed, revered, and resilient resistance actor within the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement”(emphases added).
  • In April 2023, DCI-P was a signatory on a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General urging the UN to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. According to the letter, the IHRA definition “opens the door to labeling as antisemitic… findings of major Israeli, Palestinian and global human rights organizations that Israeli authorities are committing the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.”
    • The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • In September 2022, DCI-P was a signatory on a joint statement urging the US government to condemn the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs, including DCI-P, as terrorist organizations. According to the letter, “Our organizations do vital human rights and humanitarian work that is necessary due to Israel’s decades-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian land that is actively and robustly supported by your administration.” The letter also called for the US to “End complicity and financial and diplomatic support to the Israeli apartheid regime.”
  • In August 2022, following criticism against the UN Commission of Inquiry’s use of antisemitic rhetoric, DCI-P signed a joint statement “extend[ing] their full support and pledg[ing] their ongoing cooperation with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Palestine.” The statement affirmed that “the present Commission is a crucial step toward the recognition and remedy of Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime as the root cause of Israel’s perpetual violations of international law in Palestine.”
    • In July 2022, Commissioner Miloon Kothari made antisemitic comments on a podcast, claiming that the “Jewish lobby” controls social media and questioned whether Israel should have UN membership. In a letter to UNHRC President Federico Villegas, Commissioner Navi Pillay refused to condemn Kothari’s remarks, stating his comments “have deliberately been taken out of context…[and] deliberately misquoted.” Dozens of countries, as well as UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, and HRC President Federico Villegas condemned these remarks.
  • In February 2021, DCI-P published a policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
  • In January 2021, DCI-P, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” DCI-P falsely claimed that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control.” The NGOs altogether ignore that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
  • 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.”)

Apartheid Rhetoric

  • DCI-P is part of a network of NGOs that promote artificial and manufactured definitions of apartheid to extend the ongoing campaigns that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel. (Read NGO Monitor’s Policy Paper “False Knowledge as Power: Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimise the Jewish State.”)
  • In December 2023, in the aftermath of the brutal Hamas attack on October 7, DCI-P published a statement claiming, “Israel’s segregationist acts of apartheid prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their right to self-determination, violating peremptory norms of international law…The operations of the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad can only be understood in the context of this continuing decades long illegal act of aggression.”
  • In November 2023, DCI-P was a signatory on a letter to Third States calling to “Recognise Israel’s colonial settlement enterprise as one policy designed to maintain an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole, and address the root causes of Palestinian dispossession and domination, and the undermining of the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people, inherent in Zionist settler colonialism,” and to “Recognise Israel’s judicial system as part and parcel of Israel’s apartheid regime, and provide full cooperation to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the UN ongoing Commission of Inquiry, to ensure justice and accountability.”
  • In September 2022, DCI-P was a signatory on a call to the UN General Assembly to “Take Immediate and Effective Action to End Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians.”   According to the call, “Dismantling Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians must be central to the UN’s commitment to end racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance worldwide.”
  • In September 2022, DCI-P endorsed a campaign titled “Investigate and Dismantle Apartheid.” The campaign is a “global Palestinian-led anti-apartheid effort…directed towards activating UN mechanisms to investigate and dismantle Israel’s apartheid regime by mobilizing grassroot efforts.”
  • In April 2021, DCI-P was a signatory on a joint submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN, stating that “Since its establishment, Israel has created and maintained an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression, amounting to apartheid, over the Palestinian people as a whole…Israel has sought to fundamentally undermine key human rights and accountability work and thereby further entrenched impunity for its apartheid regime over Palestinians.”


No Way to Treat a Child

BDS Activities

  • In November 2023, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement calling to states to “take all available measures to avoid complicity in Israeli conduct through the provision of materials, arms, economic and diplomatic support to a regime responsible for ongoing and persistent widespread and systematic violence and abuse of the Palestinian population amounting to genocide.” DCI-P also called to “apply and impose economic sanctions, arms embargo, and other countermeasures until Israel adheres to its obligations under international law.”
  • In July 2023, DCI-P was a signatory on a letter to members of the European Parliament calling to “implement economic and diplomatic sanctions, severing cultural ties, ending trade in weapons and military-security cooperation with Israel, as well as banning any economic relations that perpetrate the apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, including by adopting legislation to prohibit trade with illegal Israeli settlements.”
  • In August 2021, DCI-P signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
  • In June 2021, DCI-P launched the petition “No More Weapons for Israel,” calling for President Biden to “immediately halt weapons sales to Israel.”
  • In May 2021, DCI-P was a signatory on a statement calling to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel,” and “Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.”
  • 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 September 2022, DCI-P endorsed a report by Al-Haq and Just Peace Advocates calling to “Update the UN database annually” and “Continue to exert the necessary efforts to ensure transparency and promote accountability for business activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, to counter the pervasive impunity stemming from corporate- related violations and grave breaches of international law in such contexts.”
  • 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.
  • 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 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

Broederlijk Delen€92,9002017-2019
EIDHR (European Union)€961,2982017-2019
Sweden$7.2 million project with 7 other partners. Unclear how much each NGO received2019-2021
European Neighbourhood Instrument (European Union)€699,2362017-2019
NorwayNOK 22.8 million project with multiple NGO recipients. Unclear how much each NGO received.2019-2023
Rockefeller Brothers Fund$100,0002020-2022
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

Appendix I

DCI-P General Director Rifat Odeh Kassis addressing Abu Maria’s memorial service in front of the PFLP flag and pictures of the group’s founder, George Habash 

DCI-P poster featuring Hashem Abu Maria hung at his memorial service

Screenshot of a PFLP memorial event, commemorating Hashem Abu Maria (Uploaded to YouTube by “عميد بريغيث”, December 4, 2014).


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