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Defence for Children International Palestine Section (DCI-PS): Summary Report on Political Advocacy and Credibility of Allegations
- Established in 1991, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS) is affiliated with the Geneva-based Defence 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.
- DCI-PS’s stated mission is “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.”
- However, the NGO is very active in wider anti-Israel political campaigns, including promoting the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, lobbying for sanctions targeting Israel, and “war crimes” accusations at the United Nations Human Rights Council. DCI-PS published a poster referring to Israeli security measurements as “a central pillar of the Apartheid-like system of discrimination in place in these areas.” DCI-PS is also active in boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
- Many of the allegations published by DCI-PS lack credibility, and are based on false or unverifiable information.
- DCI-PS works closely with other Palestinian political NGOs such as Al-Haq and Al Mezan. DCI-PS’s board of directors includes Shawan Jabarin (director of Al Haq and board member of HRW), who has been denied exit visas by Israel and Jordan on account of his alleged ties to the PFLP terror group.
- General director Rifat Odeh Kassis is also the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and centrally involved in promoting BDS campaigns.
- Gerard Horton, an Australian lawyer, is listed as DCI-PS’s “International Advocacy Officer-Lawyer”, and is based in Israel and the PA. Horton is involved in anti-Israel campaigning, including alleged abuses regarding “child detention issues” (see below).
- DCI-PS reported revenue of $1,368,513 in 2011. Listed supporters (2011) include: the European Commission; the Ramallah-based NGO Development Centre (NDC – joint funds from Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and Netherlands); Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO and KerkinActie) Netherlands; Save the Children – UK; Save the Children – Sweden; Oxfam – Italy.
- DCI-PS is a signatory of the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS”. The NGO’s website section on “ways you can get involved” in helping “Palestinian Child Prisoners,” cites BDS as a “suggested action.”
- General director Rifat Odeh Kassis is a major BDS advocate, and is also the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, which is a central leader of the delegitimization and BDS campaigns, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict.
- After the 2010 “Free Gaza flotilla,” DCI-PS joined other 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.”
- DCI-PS has initiated a political campaign led by Gerard Horton alleging mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli courts, as published in major articles in the Australian and British media, and in a report (2012) facilitated and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). These reports cited DCI-PS claims extensively and uncritically.
- Horton promoted the report in the UK in conjunction with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), and the NGO Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), headed by Daniel Machover (a leader of lawfare campaigns).
DCI-PS Credibility, False Allegations, and Role in the Discredited Goldstone Report
- During and after the Gaza War, DCI-PS was part of the network of political advocacy NGOs promoting the unsupported allegation that the vast majority of Palestinian casualties were civilians; claims that one its “most important achievements in the realm of international advocacy was our role in the Goldstone Report,” having “presented three papers to the investigation committee.”
- On April 14, 2010 the NGO published a list alleging that 352 children died “as a direct result of Israel’s military offensive” in the Gaza war. (PCHR claimed that 313 children were killed.) Some on DCI-PS’ list, such as Ibrahim Mostafa Fraih Sa’id and Ibrahim Abed al-Rahim Rajab Suliman, were identified by B’Tselem and PCHR as combatants.
- Highlighting the lack of credibility, DCI-PS noted “Despite DCI-Palestine’s best endeavours to collect affidavits from eyewitnesses to [the child’s] death, no reliable evidence could be gathered.”
- 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.”
- DCI-PS continues to promote the clearly false allegations of a “Jenin massacre” (2002) on its website, including a statement on the “horror” of the “Israeli army massacre in Jenin refugee camp.”