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Military Court Watch (MCW)


Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
In their own words A “voluntary association established by a group of lawyers and other professionals who share a belief in the rule of law.”


  • In mid-2016, MCW appears to have severed its financial relationship with the Dalia Association.  Previously, the MCW website stated that MCW is “fiscally sponsored by Dalia Association, a registered non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize and properly utilize resources necessary to empower a vibrant, independent and accountable civil society in the region. Donations to MCW are handled by Dalia Association and are tax deductible in most jurisdictions… We have no employees and pay no salaries. In order to sustain our work we obtain donations, large and small, from institutions and individuals. Each contribution is applied directly to our evidence, advocacy and litigation programmes.”
    • As of December 31, 2015, Dalia Association owed nearly $9,000 to MCW.  As of the end of 2014, Dalia Association owed nearly $30,000 to MCW.
  • Further financial information is not provided by MCW.


  • The founders of MWC originally “decided not to establish an NGO as we do not intend that our professional association will continue beyond our limited objectives… If and when [our] recommendations are implemented, MCW will dissolve.”
  • Claims that its work “is guided by a basic principle that children detained by the Israeli military authorities are entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under international law… In accordance with these principles, MCW advocates, and where appropriate, litigates, to ensure that all children that come in contact with the military legal system are treated with equality and in accordance with the law.”
  • According to its website, “In order to assess to what extent children are being denied their legitimate legal rights, MCW monitors their treatment from the moment of arrest until final release. This process involves the collection of testimonies from affected children and their families, as well as assessing developments within the military legal system.”
  • MCW’s advisory board includes: Gerard Horton, International Advocacy Officer and lawyer for Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-P) and co-founder of MCW; Sam Bahour, policy adviser to Al-Shabaka; Raghad Jaraisy of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI); Salwa Duaibis of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC); Raja Shehadeh, founder of Al-Haq, a leader of anti-Israel “lawfare” campaigns; and Gaby Lasky, former General Director of Peace Now. (DCI-P, Al Shabaka, WCLAC and Al Haq are active in promoting BDS campaigns against Israel).

Political Advocacy

  • According to its website, “As part of MCW’s monitoring programme approximately 150 testimonies are collected each year from children detained by the military authorities… In addition to this body of evidence, MCW collects testimonies from parents to assess the impact of the military legal system on the child, the family and the community as a whole.” These testimonies, however, are anonymous, unverifiable, and lack credibility.
  • MCW also “reproduces” testimonies by members of Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BtS). As documented extensively in a number of NGO Monitor reports, BtS similarly makes sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous, and unverifiable accounts of low-level soldiers. These “testimonies” similarly lack context, are politically biased, and erase the complicated reality in the West Bank, in an effort to advance the political and ideological agenda of BtS activists, and contributing to the international delegitimization of Israel.
  • An April 2015 MCW document alleged that arrests of Palestinian children were “In order to guarantee the protection of nearly 400,000 Israeli civilians living in over 200 illegal West Bank settlements…. In other words, the military detention of Palestinians is an essential element in ensuring the viability of the settlement project” (emphasis added). MCW disregards the circumstances that lead to such arrests, such as terror activity and violence.
  • While MCW relies on unsubstantiated data and exploits the language of international law, it is  often quoted as fact by international diplomats and policy makers, thereby contributing to the demonization and isolation of Israel. For example, MCW’s allegations were quoted in an EU document, “Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Israel Progress in 2014 and recommendations for actions.” Official Israeli sources were not consulted.
  • MCW regularly cites reports and publications issued by other highly biased and politicized NGOs including B’Tselem, Defence for Children International- Palestine, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel, Al Mezan, Who Profits, Hamoked, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and Yesh Din. A number of these NGOs are highly active in demonization, BDS and “lawfare” campaigns against the State of Israel, and regularly promote the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli responsibility.
  • Relies on its unverifiable testimonies, along with information from politicized NGOs, to make submissions to a variety of UN forums.


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