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1,026 Palestinian prisoner terrorists enrolled in university - report

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman  |

1,026 Palestinian prisoner terrorists enrolled in university - report

In 2011, it was decided by the Israeli government to deny prisoner terrorists the right to pursue higher education while in jail.

August 12, 2019

More than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails are currently studying for advanced university degrees, according to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch.

“The total number of prisoners at this time is approximately 5,700 prisoners,” explained PLO Commissioner of Prisoners' Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr in a TV program aired on Palestinian Authority TV last month. “Of these, 1,026 prisoners are currently enrolled in Palestinian universities, most notably the Al-Quds Open University, which is serving the largest number of [prisoners] - currently 906 students.”
He said that additionally, roughly 120 students are studying at other universities for undergraduate and master’s degrees. 


Bakr was speaking at a public graduation ceremony, where 93 prisoner terrorists received their diplomas. The ceremony was broadcasted live on official Palestinian TV and translated and shared by PMW.


The large number of students studying for degrees is surprising, said PMW's Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Maurice Hirsch in their report. Mainly because in 2011, it was decided by the Israeli government to deny prisoner terrorists the right to pursue higher education while in jail.



The initial decision was meant to put pressure on Hamas to release Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit. However, even after he was released, in exchange for thousands of prisoners with blood on their hands, the government did not lift this ban.



In 2015, a seven-judge panel rejected an appeal to lift the ban and unanimously, ruling that the Prison Service Commissioner’s decision to deny terrorists the right to higher education was reasonable. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) has said that it continues to uphold the court’s decision and that there are not terrorists studying for degrees. 


“There are no academic studies for security prisoners in Israeli prisons,” IPS said in a statement, rejecting the PMW’s report. “The report is based on interested foreign sources and is not connected to reality. These are fake titles and a fake report.”
However, the PMW said it can show that, in fact, these Palestinians are getting degrees.
In July, for example, PMW released a translation of a program on official PA TV in which a released terrorist spoke about his education while in prison:
“There is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Prison Ministry in the field of education,” the released terrorist said. “We take [matriculation exams], serious studies, we have a university located within the prisons. Praised be Allah.”
As recently as earlier this month, a post on Fatah’s official Facebook page documented the awarding of a political science degree to a terrorist sentenced to life in prison, plus 25 years.
“Qaddura Refugee Camp: Prisoner Jihad al-Run, who was sentenced to life in prison and 25 years, receives his bachelor’s degree from the prison of the occupation” (posted August 3, 2019).
This is not the first report on Palestinian prisoner terrorists receiving academic degrees that has been released by the PMW. In 2018, the organization documented more than 1,000 prisoners, and in 2017, a similar in-depth report found that 484 terrorist prisoners were studying for bachelor’s degrees at the Open University, in cooperation with the PA’s Ministry of Education. 
According to a Palestinian law passed in 2004, one of the benefits granted to incarcerated prisoners is full financial coverage of his or her academic studies. This is in addition to the prisoner’s monthly salary.