On 24 March, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman accepted a petition created by a group with ties to a terror organisation that is based on a flawed report.

Anti-Israel activist group, Wellington Palestine, acknowledged the petition originates from Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) – an organisation with numerous ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.

NGO Monitor has identified at least 11 current and former DCIP board members, officials, and employees linked to the PFLP – some of whom have been convicted of terror offences such as planning and carrying out attacks targeting Israeli civilians.

Wellington Palestine cite a DCIP report that underpins the petition. This report makes numerous false and misleading claims about the IDF and Israeli Military Courts. For example, the report condemns Israel’s use of military courts. Yet under the legal paradigm used by DCIP (concerning occupation under international humanitarian law), Israel is required to use such courts exclusively.

The DCIP report also states that innocent Palestinian minors accused of involvement in violent crimes accept plea bargains, even if they are innocent. This occurs when DCI-P staff lawyers ostensibly represent these minors in court. If true, this would be an ethical violation, if not malpractice on behalf of the DCI-P staff and so the petition should be to condemn DCIP rather than Israel.

It seems that Wellington Palestine and Ms Ghahraman have not done their research and blindly accepted a flawed report that demonises Israel. If this were the first and only infraction, it might be considered a lapse of judgement and there would be a swift apology. Unfortunately, Ms Ghahraman has a history of anti-Israel activism that includes:

So it seems the petition fits in with a pattern of behaviour that distorts truth to demonise and delegitimize Israel.

The sad reality is that Palestinian children are used in the conflict. Over 30 Palestinian children and teens were enlisted in stabbing attacks against Israelis from 2015-2016; 29 Palestinian children have been successfully used as suicide bombers (with a few dozen more attempts being thwarted); and over 17,000 Palestinian children were recruited into Hamas child militia programs in 2019.

And children in Palestinian-run schools are taught with a curriculum that is antisemitic and glorifies violence. In 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) took the unprecedented step to express concern “about the existence of hate speech in [PA]… school curricula and textbooks, which fuels hatred and may incite violence, particularly hate speech against Israelis, which at times also fuels antisemitism.” These textbooks are used in UNRWA schools, that New Zealand funds to the tune of approximately $1m each year.

If Ms Ghahraman was truly interested in peace and the protection of minors, she might do better than promote a petition formulated on false information by a terror affiliate. Rather, she should urge our government to stop funding schools that teach children to hate, and implore our representatives to condemn the recruitment of child soldiers by Palestinian militant groups.