Excuse and Disregard: Palestinian NGOs on Teens’ Involvement in Terror Attacks and Violent Clashes

Updated: February 7, 2023


Palestinian NGOs take a hypocritical approach towards children’s rights. On the one hand, they claim to champion children’s rights and allegations of their abuse feature prominently in NGO campaigns against Israel. Yet, NGOs ignore the recruitment and use of Palestinian children by terrorist organizations, as well as the indoctrination of children to engage in violence. 

Relatedly, Palestinian NGOs deny the very existence of Palestinian terror. They assert that internationally recognized terror groups are merely “political parties” and violence against Israelis is the legitimate expression of the “right of resistance.” Unsurprisingly in this context, a number of Palestinian NGOs have extensive close links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group. 

As shown in detail in this resource, terror-tied Palestinian NGOs – including Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), and Al-Haq – regularly distort the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Palestinian minors in terror incidents. They ignore or minimize the violent attacks perpetrated by the minors that precipitated their deaths and blame Israel for deploying self-defense measures to protect the victims of such attacks. In situations where the minors died during clashes with Israeli forces and violent rioting, the NGOs erase this essential element of the incidents. In addition, they make factual claims that conflict with reports from media outlets and official accounts.

Even in the few instances where NGOs acknowledge the violent actions of Palestinian minors, they often condemn the response of Israeli forces, but fail to criticize the terrorist groups that recruit these children and orchestrate the violent clashes in which they partake.

(For more information on the connections between these NGOs and the internationally designated terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), see  “PFLP Ties of Six Newly Designated Terror NGOs” and “Palestinian Centre for Human Right’s Links to the PFLP Terror Group.”)

Ultimately, NGOs seek to use allegations of violations of children’s rights in their international campaigns to sanction Israel. In particular, the NGOs provide information to UN reporting mechanisms such as the UNICEF-headed Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) Working Group, in an attempt to have the IDF added to a UN blacklist of child rights abusers, alongside terrorist organizations such as the Taliban, Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram.

(For more information on the campaign to blacklist the IDF, see NGO Monitor’s “UNICEF and its NGO Working Group: Failing Children,” and “UN Report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’: Moving the Goalposts on Israel”)

The following tool examines the circumstances surrounding the deaths of dozens of Palestinian teenagers at the hands of Israeli security forces, since 2018. It includes those who carried out attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as those killed during violent clashes in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Methodological note

Sources include statements from official Israeli bodies, Israeli and Palestinian media, NGO reporting, and social media.

This platform is divided into two sections.  

  1. The first covers Palestinian minors who carried out attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as those killed in the context of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security personnel.  
  2. The second includes children killed in the context of the Gaza border riots, highlighting the cynical endangerment of children by Gaza-based terrorist organizations. This human rights violation is systematically ignored by the NGOs reviewed here.

Palestinian Minors: Acts of Violence and NGO Whitewash