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Betraying the vision and betraying the children:‎ DCI-Palestine promotes kids participation in terror and endorses PA brainwashing

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.‎  |
  • While claiming to be a human rights organization that advocates for the rights of ‎Palestinian children, DCI-P:‎

  • Promotes the participation of Palestinian children in violence

  • Condones the PA brainwashing of the Palestinian children

  • Has invented a false narrative to condemn Israel while all the time ‎ignoring the widespread Palestinian abuse of their own children

Defense for Children International (DCI) is an internationally recognized, non-‎governmental organization (NGO) that engages in child advocacy. According to its ‎website, the vision of the organization is “that children, as human beings, are able to ‎pursue a life in which they can enjoy their human rights with dignity, in a just and ‎responsible society.”‎

The “Palestine” section of DCI (DCI-P) is not only betraying the vision of its ‎international umbrella organization, but more outrageously, it is betraying the children ‎on whose behalf they are meant to be advocating. ‎

Promoting participation in violence

While it is clearly not in the best interest of any child to participate in the commission of ‎criminal offences, it is certainly not in the best interest of any child to participate in acts ‎of terror.‎

But for DCI-P, this universal reality seems to be irrelevant. Instead of advocating that ‎the Palestinian children be removed entirely from the equation of participating in acts ‎of terror, DCI-P’s Accountability Program Director, Ayed Abu Qteish, condoned and ‎romanticized Palestinian children’s involvement in terror. According to Abu Qteish, it is ‎the “children’s right” to participate in a “non-violent march” even if the child throws rocks at ‎Israeli security officials or Israeli civilians. ‎

‎“All the cases of Palestinian children being killed – It is the children’s right to ‎participate in non-violent marches, and it is their right to articulate and express ‎their opinion… When the Palestinian children participate in a march or ‎demonstration or throw a rock, the most important aspect is the symbolic aspect ‎of this issue. The symbolism in that we are rejecting and resisting this ‎occupation.”‎

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 21, 2020]‎

Throwing rocks at Israeli security officials and certainly at Israeli civilians can and ‎should never be categorized as a “non-violent” act. Rather it should be seen for exactly ‎what it is – violence par excellence! Children who participate in such acts of violence ‎are endangering both themselves and others, with potentially lethal consequences. ‎

It is children such as these, who threw stones at the car of Adva Biton and her ‎daughter, 3-year-old Adelle as they travelled on a highway. One of the stones thrown ‎by the five Palestinian kids who participated in the attack hit Adva in the head, causing ‎her to lose control. While Adva was seriously injured, Adelle’s injuries left her with ‎permanent brain damage until she eventually died of her injuries at age four. ‎

 ‎        ‎
‎  Adelle Biton

When Abu Qteish, as an official representative of DCI-P, condones and even ‎romanticizes rock throwing describing it as a “right” of the Palestinian children, he is ‎fundamentally betraying both the Palestinian children and the potential Israeli victims ‎of the violence.  ‎

Just days after Abu Qteish promoted the participation of Palestinian children in violent ‎demonstrations, Palestinian teenager Ali Ayman Saleh Abu Alia was killed while ‎participating in such a demonstration. Describing the event, the IDF spokesman said:‎

“During violent demonstrations that took place last Friday [Dec. 4, 2020] in the ‎proximity of the al-Mu'ayir village and Malek village in the area of the “Binyamin” ‎regional division, tens of rioters threw stones at IDF and Border Guard forces. ‎They also tried to roll boulders and burning tires from hilltops that dominate the ‎‎“Alon” road endangering the lives of those traveling on the road. The security ‎forces prevented the blocking of the road and responded with means for the ‎dispersal of demonstrations and firing of a “Ruger”. The claim about ‎Palestinians injured and killed are known to the IDF and following the incident ‎an investigation of the IDF Military Police has been opened, which when it ends ‎its finding will be transferred to the IDF Military Advocate.”  ‎
 

[IDF Official Twitter account, Dec. 6, 2020]‎

While DCI-P were happy to promote the participation of the Palestinian children in ‎violent demonstrations, they were similarly quick to use the tragic death of Abu Alia as ‎another opportunity to condemn Israel. ‎

As noted by the IDF spokesman, the exact circumstances of Abu Alia’s death are still ‎under investigation. However, already now, it is possible to conclude, that if ‎organizations like DCI-P did not promote the participation of Palestinian kids in violent ‎demonstrations, but rather advocated on their behalf to also stop the PA from promoting ‎the participation of children in violence, then deaths such as that Abu Alia could most ‎likely have been avoided.  ‎

Condoning the brainwashing of children

Having condoned the participation of the Palestinian children in the acts of terror, it ‎should come as no surprise that Abu Qteish also condones the brainwashing of the ‎Palestinian children to believe that Israeli cities are part of “Palestine”.‎

In order to justify its demand to flood Israel with millions of so-called “Palestinian ‎refugees” the Palestinian Authority continuously promotes the notion that Israeli cities ‎are part of “Palestine”. The messaging is present in every walk of life, including in the ‎PA curriculum. On a daily basis, the PA curriculum and textbooks ignore Israel’s ‎existence, brainwashing the kids to believe that the entire area from the River Jordan to ‎the Mediterranean Sea is “Palestine”. Needless to say, they never mention that an ‎independent, sovereign country baring the name “Palestine” never existed or that the ‎entire area the PA calls “Palestine”, including Israel, Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. the ‎West Bank) was designated by the international community as the homeland for the ‎Jewish people.    ‎

Historical fact aside, for DCI-P and Abu Qteish, it is perfectly reasonable that the PA ‎brainwash the Palestinian children into believing in the false reality. As Abu Qteish ‎explained:‎

“The Israeli attack [on our curricula] said that in the Palestinians’ curricula there ‎are [lessons on] Islamic battles that took place- that encourage resistance. ‎
And this is [indeed] the role of the curriculum: The Palestinian children need to ‎know that Palestine is not only Ramallah and Bethlehem. They need to know ‎that Palestine is Haifa and Acre (i.e., Israeli cities) and that there is a historical ‎oppression that is being imposed on the Palestinian children.”‎

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 21, 2020]‎

Betraying his duty to advocate for the rights of children, this false statement by Abu ‎Qteish, is indicative of the false narratives he adopts. ‎

First and foremost, the complaints made against the PA curriculum do not focus on ‎‎“Islamic battles that took place”. ‎

Rather, the complaints focus on the sections of the PA textbooks that “profoundly ‎poison” the minds of the Palestinian children, as then Senator Hilary Clinton said at a ‎press conference with PMW. The most recent complaints against the PA curriculum are ‎focused on the section of the school books that teach the children to admire and ‎emulate terrorists such as Dalal Mughrabi, who murdered 37 Israelis including 12 ‎children. Similarly, the complaints also noted the fact that Palestinian children are ‎taught about Newton’s Second Law of Motion by showing a picture of a masked ‎Palestinian using a slingshot to propel a rock at Israeli forces (PA 7th Grade Life ‎Sciences schoolbook, p. 77). In their entirety, the complaints focused on the fact that ‎the PA indoctrinates Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israel; to aspire to the ‎destruction of Israel; brainwashes the Palestinian children to admire murderers; ‎weaponizes the Palestinian children and promotes their participation in violence and ‎how the PA pays substantial financial rewards to the child terrorists. ‎
‎  ‎
Secondly, Abu Qteish adopts and justifies spreading the falsehood that Israeli cities ‎are in “Palestine” and that there is some kind of “historical oppression” of the children. ‎

Does DCIP have terror connections?‎

A comprehensive report issued in 2019 by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs ‎‎(Terrorists in Suits - The Ties Between NGOs promoting BDS and Terrorist ‎Organizations) noted extensive connections between DCI-P and the Popular Front for ‎the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an internationally designated terror organization. Just ‎recently, Palestinian Media Watch exposed that DCI-P refused to accept an EU ‎funding condition that required the NGO recipients to commit that no EU aid would be ‎passed through the NGO to EU designated terror organizations.  ‎

Inventing a false narrative to condemn Israel and ignoring the widespread ‎Palestinian abuse of their own children

For a decade, DCI-P has unjustifiably been accusing Israel of breaching the rights of ‎Palestinian minors who are arrested on suspicion of committing terror attacks. In 2017, ‎DCI-P launched a campaign in the US and in Canada under the title “No Way to Treat ‎a Child.” Members of Congress such as Betty McCullom and Mark Pocan often quote ‎DCI-P findings and reports that constantly condemn Israel. DCI-P is also a member of ‎the UNICEF Palestine “working group” that is also used as a means to unjustifiably ‎condemn Israel.‎

But the DCI-P betrayal of the Palestinian children runs deeper than promoting their ‎participation in terror, condoning the brainwashing of the children and initiating false ‎campaigns.  ‎

A recent survey published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (Preliminary ‎Results of the Violence Survey in the Palestinian Society 2019) shows that Palestinian ‎children are the objects of considerable physical and psychological abuse. ‎

According to the study:‎

  • ‎25% of Palestinian children aged 12-17 experienced a form of violence in ‎school.‎

  • 17% of Palestinian children aged 12-17 experienced physical violence from a ‎teacher.‎
  • 15% of Palestinian children aged 12-17 experienced psychologicalviolence ‎from a teacher.

  • 68% of the Palestinian boys and 62% of the Palestinian girls aged 0 – 11 ‎experienced physical violence.‎
  •  ‎79% of the Palestinian boys and 74% of the Palestinian girls aged 0 – 11 ‎experienced psychological violence.

  • 26% of the Palestinian boys and 18% of the Palestinian girls aged 0 – 11 ‎experienced severe physical violence.‎


Instead of spending vast amounts of time, energy and funding, in cahoots with ‎internationally designated terror organizations, inventing a false narrative that ‎condemns Israel, maybe DCI-P should spend more time addressing the internal ‎Palestinian widespread child abuse.  ‎

By promoting the participation of Palestinian children in violent acts of terror, by ‎condoning the brainwashing of the Palestinian children, by maintaining links to ‎internationally designated terror organizations and by ignoring the widespread child ‎abuse in the PA, DCI-P is fundamentally betraying the Palestinian children and the ‎vision of Defense for Children International. Reports issued by DCI-P should be ‎immediately discounted for fundamental bias and DCI-P should be immediately ‎expelled from any UNICEF working group. ‎

The following is a longer excerpt of the interview with Abu Qteish:‎

Official PA TV program Palestine This Morning, on UN World Children’s Day, ‎hosting Defense for Children International Palestine’s Accountability Program ‎Director Ayed Abu Qteish

Abu Qteish: “Basically the occupation, regardless of the Palestinian children’s ‎motives- there are methods to control and humiliate. [The occupation] wants to ‎humiliate the Palestinian children. All the cases of Palestinian children being killed – it ‎is the children’s right to participate in non-violent marches, and it is their right to ‎articulate and express their opinion. The natural situation in the shadow of the ‎occupation’s existence is that there will be resistance to the occupation by all sectors of ‎the society, including children…‎

When the Palestinian children participate in a march or demonstration or throw a rock, ‎the most important aspect is the symbolic aspect of this issue. In other words: The ‎symbolism in that we are rejecting and resisting this occupation. ‎
On this basis Israel is attempting to kill this symbolism, to kill the image that exists in the ‎minds of the Palestinian children. They want to occupy the Palestinian children’s ‎consciousness. ‎

Throughout history, the most dangerous tool in the hands of the colonialist was ‎‎[control over] the mind of the occupied people. And a situation in which the ‎Palestinians and Palestinian children accept this reality is an unnatural situation. In ‎other words, for the Palestinian children the natural situation is, for example- ‎

During the survey by the committees [established following] the agreements of the ‎report on Palestine that was submitted to many international organizations, the Israeli ‎attack said that in the Palestinians’ curricula there are [lessons on] Islamic battles that ‎took place- that encourage resistance.

And this is the role of the curriculum: That the Palestinian children need to know that ‎Palestine is not only Ramallah and Bethlehem. They need to know that Palestine is ‎Haifa and Acre (i.e., Israeli cities) and that there is a historical oppression that is being ‎imposed on the Palestinian children. In effect, the education and the curricula in all ‎places in the world need to call for change and resistance, and this role in the ‎Palestinian curricula needs to be many times more so…‎

Regarding the detained children, all the acts and proceedings of the detentions are ‎designed to assault the psychological condition of the Palestinian children or of the ‎Palestinians in general, even the adults… In addition, there are detentions of children ‎under the age of 12, considering that the age of partial [criminal] liability in Israel, ‎whether in civil law or according to the military’s orders, is 12. They cannot try the child ‎in front of the court unless he is at least 12, but in many cases… a child of the age of 7 ‎or 8 is detained, and the experience of detention, even if it is for a period of a few ‎minutes or a few hours… has short-term and long-term psychological effects.‎

We have documented a number of blows that are connected to the employment of the ‎Palestinian children in the [Jordan] Valley, and especially in the settlements in the ‎‎[Jordan] Valley. The work conditions, and the fields of work- in other words, in the ‎fields of agriculture the children are exposed to the pesticides that are forbidden for ‎use, and even if they are permitted for use it is forbidden for children to be exposed to ‎them. ‎

In addition, the living conditions of the children – considering that many children work ‎and live in the same area – the living conditions of the children are very severe. The ‎problem with this issue is that there is no legal protection for the children who work in ‎these settlements, not from the Palestinian law given that the Palestinians cannot ‎reach them, and not from the Israeli law because most of the workforce is not regulated ‎and is done through contractors, and the contractors- there is a situation of ‎enslavement for the children who work in these places.” ‎

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 21, 2020]‎

The wounded boy in the video is then 13-year-old terrorist Ahmad Manasrah who ‎together with his then 15-year-old cousin Hassan ‎Manasrah stabbed Yossef Ben ‎Shalom (21) in the Pisgat ‎Ze'ev neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem, and then ‎repeatedly stabbed Naor Ben Ezra (13) who was riding his bike on Oct. 12, 2015. Both ‎victims were seriously injured. Hassan Manasrah was killed while fleeing the scene, and ‎Ahmad Manasrah was shot by Israeli police, arrested, and hospitalized. Ahmad ‎Manasrah is serving 9.5 years in prison for two counts of attempted murder, after his ‎original 12-year sentence was shortened by the Israeli Supreme Court on Aug. 10, 2017, ‎which claimed he had "gone a long way in his rehabilitation."‎