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University degrees for imprisoned terrorists - UNESCO involved - Father told son to stay in prison to complete MA

Nan Jacques Zilberdik, and Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |
  • 3 convicted murderers taught university courses in prison under the auspices of UNESCO

  • BA and MA degrees entirely free of charge for imprisoned terrorists – the PA pays!

  • Imprisoned planner of murder of 5 teaches MA program in “Israel Studies” to fellow inmates

  • Father preferred terrorist son stay in prison to complete MA supervised by terrorist who planned murder of 5

  • At least 4 Palestinian universities offer degree programs to imprisoned terrorists

  • Parents see prison as a career path for their terrorist sons – all the way to a PhD

Imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, including murderers, receive free university studies within Israeli prisons – generously funded by the Palestinian Authority and in cooperation with Palestinian universities and even UNESCO! This is in addition to numerous other benefits with which the Palestinian Authority rewards terrorist prisoners.

Palestinian law lists these  and other benefits, among them numerous payments and allowances: “Ensuring jobs for the released prisoners,” “payment of monthly salary,” and “exemption from tuition at the schools and universities, and from health insurance fees, and from payments of training courses.”  [PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners, 2004 and implementing regulations from 2010 and 2013].

In 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and held hostage for over five years, while Hamas demanded he be exchanged for terrorists including murderers in Israeli prisons. While the captive Israeli soldier was suffering in isolation, Palestinian terrorist prisoners enjoyed their many benefits – including access to higher education. In 2011, Israel decided to cancel many of these benefits, including cancelling their access to higher education. Appeals submitted by imprisoned terrorists were discussed at length, including in decisions of Israel's Supreme Court in 2012 and in 2015. The appeals were rejected after the courts ruled that the terrorists do not have a specific right to participate in higher education, and that the fact that they are categorized as “security prisoners” is sufficient to distinguish them from criminal prisoners, who are entitled to participate in higher education.

While allowing imprisoned criminals to study is often seen as a means for their rehabilitation, there is consensus that these considerations are not valid regarding prisoners who carried out ideological terror crimes. When the Palestinian terrorists return to Palestinian society, they are not considered criminals who committed an offence and were in need of “rehabilitation”, but rather hailed as “heroes.”

Accordingly, receiving university degrees, which only a minority of law-abiding Palestinians are able to achieve outside of prison, may for some Palestinians constitute another incentive for terror.

Since the decision was made, Israel has never rescinded the prohibition against terrorists receiving university education in the prisons. Nonetheless, the reality seems to be quite different.

In a recent interview, Al-Quds Open University’s President’s Aide for Student Affairs, Muhammad Shahin, described in detail the thriving university programs for terrorists in prison. He explained who is involved, how the system works, and how it is funded. The program offers several degrees, includes “teachers” and “academic supervisors” within the prisons, as well as exam committees to ensure that everything is done according to “university standards.”

Describing the facilitation of university studies for imprisoned terrorists – who are “a crown of honor on our heads” - as “part of the university’s social responsibility,” Shahin provided the following facts on the university program, which has existed in one form or other since 2000:

  • The current program was established in 2014 in an agreement between Al-Quds Open University, the then Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs (now named PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs), and the PA Ministry of Education.
  • Studies are free of charge for the prisoners. 30% of the costs are paid by Al-Quds University “as a scholarship for all the prisoners,” and the rest is paid by the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs.
  • Terrorist Marwan Barghouti, planner of murder of 5 and serving 5 life sentences, teaches an MA program in “Israel Studies” to fellow inmates as part of Al-Quds Open University.
  • Al-Quds Open University runs programs in 5 prisons: Rimon, Ketziot, Gilboa, Nafha, and Shikma.
  • In each prison there is “a committee of academics” made up of prisoners with an MA or a PhD. The committee supervises exams, grades, submission of grades – “all the procedures, and especially the academic ones so that they follow the rules and criteria found within the university.”
  • A lawyer from the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs brings out the exams from the prisons and “submits them to the acceptance and registration deanship at the university.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 8, 2020]

Despite the ostensible prohibition, Palestinian Media Watch has exposed that the illegal university programs at the Israeli prisons continue unabated, despite the denial by the Israeli Prison Service that such studies are taking place. In fact, Qadri Abu Bakr, Director of the PLO’s Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs, acknowledged earlier this year that the PA owes over $3 million in tuition fees to Palestinian universities for terrorist students.

The Palestinian university degree programs in the prisons are “self-sufficient” in the sense that “faculty members” are appointed from among the prisoners themselves. An imprisoned terrorist murderer with a degree may become a teacher of a university course. Thus Marwan Barghouti, convicted for planning the murder of 5 and serving 5 life sentences, and who supposedly has “a doctorate in political science,” teaches a course in “Israel Studies” to fellow inmates:

Official PA TV host: “[The program is] not just BA degrees. The prisoners are also obtaining MA degrees –“
Al-Quds Open University Political Science Department Head Ziyad Ayyad: “Correct… It began in 2012, when we began with MA [studies] through brother Dr. Marwan Barghouti, who initiated the MA [program] of Israeli Studies in the prisons. This program has been a great success. We have produced many students with MA diplomas.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 8, 2020]

Terrorist Barghouti also “supervises” student inmates’ work on their theses:

“Prisoner Rateb Al-Hreibat… has completed the requirements to receive a master’s degree in ‘Israeli Studies’ from Al-Quds University… Fatah Movement leader prisoner Marwan Barghouti, who holds a doctorate in political science, supervised Al-Hreibat’s master’s degree thesis.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, May 22, 2020]

In fact, Barghouti’s program and the opportunity in general for Palestinian terrorists to study for free in prison is so popular that one terrorist’s father even told his son to stay in prison to complete his degree rather than apply for early release:

Released prisoner Iyad Al-Jarjawi: “I used to hear that the prison is an academy, a university, a school… The experience of [my] master’s degree [in prison]: I truly thank Marwan Barghouti… We copied the books and did our research, everything by hand… If you want to earn a master’s degree in prison, you need to study 14 hours every day… What is the source of joy and what causes one to stand firm as a prisoner? It’s the joy of my mother and father.”
Official PA TV host: “They supported you.”
Iyad Al-Jerjawi: “So much that [when] I submitted [a request] for “early release,” my father said “No, don’t leave, complete the master’s degree!” …
Host: “They encouraged you.”
Iyad Al-Jerjawi: “Exactly.”

[Official PA TV, I Call You, July 13, 2020]

Another happy father blessed yet another murderer teacher:

Father of prisoner Hamza Taqtouq: “Allah be praised and with Allah’s mercy, now inside the prison Hamza [Taqtouq] (i.e., terrorist, murdered 1 together with accomplices) is becoming educated and is learning. He is in his third year of university and is about to start the fourth year. This is thanks to the guys who are imprisoned inside, all of them without exception. I should also note Yasser Abu Bakr (i.e., terrorist, responsible for murder of 3), who has the strength and pride to teach Hamza, and I say 1,000 blessings to Yasser Abu Bakr.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Aug. 29, 2019]

Once their sons are in prison, parents see this as a career path, all the way to a PhD:

Official PA TV host: “What is the significance today of you receiving a diploma that brings hope [to the prisoners] through your son?”

Prisoner Muhammad Abu Taha’s father: “I’m proud of my son, who struggled and made an effort and received a diploma… This is something that arouses pride among all the prisoners… Praise Allah, he achieved it. Allah willing, [he’ll also achieve] a PhD…”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Feb. 6, 2020]

Not only Al-Quds Open University offers degrees to terrorists. So does An-Najah University. It even has 3 convicted murderers on “staff” teaching a course in International Law and Human Rights!

When family members showed their terrorist prisoner relatives’ course certificates on official PA TV, one of them was a certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights jointly issued by UNESCO and An-Najah National University.

Sister of Wael Al-Shakhdam and mother of terrorist Shadi Abu Shakhdam: “The proof of their studies [in prison]… I received four certificates in one day…”

Visuals:

  1. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logo of IDNILHR)
  2. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logos of UNESCO and An-Najah University)
  3. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logo of Fatah)

Father of terrorist Shadi Abu Shakhdam: “Prison is a school. There are those who have succeeded in taking advantage of this and succeeded in receiving higher [education] certificates – MA certificates and a diploma.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 26, 2019]

UNESCO's certificate mentions the course instructors who include three murderers responsible for the deaths of 25 Israelis: Yasser Abu Bakr – responsible for attacks in which 3 were murdered, Nasser Awais – responsible for attacks in which 14 were murdered, and Izz Al-Din Hamamrah – involved in attacks in which 8 were murdered:

“Certificate of participation - UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy / An-Najah National University confirms that Mr. Wael Abu Shakhdam has completed a training course in International Law and Human Rights of 15 study hours between the dates of Feb. 25, 2018 - April 30, 2018 at the Nafha Prison
Instructors: Prisoner Yasser Abu Bakr, prisoner Nasser Awais, prisoner Izz Al-Din Hamamrah (i.e., together involved in murder of 25) and prisoner Khaled Al-Qorm...
[Signed by: UNESCO] Chair Director Dr. Johnny Asi, [An-Najah National] University Acting President Dr. Maher Natsheh”

[Facebook page of terrorist Wael Abu Shakhdam, Aug. 15, 2020]”

Other Palestinian universities providing courses and degrees to imprisoned terrorists are Abu Dis University and Kadoorie University:

“The Fatah Movement’s Jenin branch, [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, the [PA-funded] Prisoners’ Club, and the Martyr Abu Jihad Center at Abu Dis University… held a graduation ceremony for 38 prisoners in the Israeli occupation prison… [Manager] of Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs [in Jenin] Saif Abu Sayyaf said that 100 prisoners have completed their studies at Al-Quds Open University, 150 are continuing to study for a master’s and bachelor’s degree, four prisoners have completed their studies at An-Najah National University, and two prisoners at Kadoorie University.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 21, 2020]

The PA is keen to show the success of these university programs to the population and celebrates in public whenever imprisoned terrorists graduate. In Jenin, for example, an event was held to celebrate the graduation of terrorist Shadi Muhammad Souqiyyeh who participated in numerous terror attacks:

“Al-Quds Open University and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs celebrated the graduation… of a number of prisoners in the occupation’s prison, under the auspices of Jenin District Governor Akram Rajoub and Al-Quds Open University President Younes Amr.
Participating [in the ceremony] were… the relatives of four prisoners in the occupation’s prison who completed the requirements to graduate from Al-Quds Open University [among them]: Shadi Muhammad Souqiyyeh (i.e., terrorist, involved in numerous attacks)…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 24, 2020]

Likewise, the PA informs the public of how many imprisoned terrorists have received diplomas:

“The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs said… that 25 prisoners in the occupation’s prison graduated university and received bachelor’s degrees from Al-Quds Open University in the 2019-2020 academic year… There are currently 1,070 prisoners in the occupation’s prison who are registered for study programs to complete their university bachelor’s degree, including 832 prisoners who are registered for the study program offered by Al-Quds Open University.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 27, 2020]

Another display of the wonders of of the university program appeared in the official PA daily, which described how terrorist murderer Omar Rimawi, who is now over 18 years old, has enjoyed the wide range of offers in terms of studies in prison. Together with an accomplice, Rimawi at age 14 stabbed and murdered off-duty Israeli soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman in a supermarket. Endorsing the murder as “an operation,” the official PA daily listed the many courses Omar has completed in prison:

“Omar is taking advantage of the prison term in order to study beautiful literature and books on politics and religion. He has also completed courses in journalism, first aid, and international rights, and is making sure to exercise in order to stay fit.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 15, 2020]

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above and additional reports on the Palestinian university degrees being taught in the Israeli prisons:

Regarding Israel's decision to prohibit terrorist prisoners access to higher education, Israeli Justice U. Shoham noted, relying on previous findings and precedents set by the Court:

“It seems that everyone agrees on the premise that there is an inherent difference between criminal prisoners and security prisoners, who have committed serious offenses on ideological grounds, and as a whole rehabilitation considerations are not applicable to them.”

[Further Hearing of the Israeli High Court of Justice 204/13, per Justice Shoham, page 33]

Al-Quds Open University President’s Aide for Student Affairs Muhammad Shahin: “We send all the blessings to our prisoners, who are truly a crown of honor on our heads… This program [of studies] is defiance within the Israeli prisons... At Al-Quds Open [University] we have begun the practical and fixed program in 5 prisons: Rimon, Ketziot, Gilboa, Nafha, and Shikma – as part of an agreement signed between Al-Quds Open University, the [PA] Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in 2014 now the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, and the [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education…

The most important criteria is the presence of a committee of academics in each of these prisons, from among [the prisoners] with an MA or PhD… The committee supervises the exams, the grades, the submission of the grades, all the procedures, and especially the academic ones so that they follow the rules and criteria found within the university… The lawyer of the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs brings the exams [out of the prisons]. He submits them to the acceptance and registration deanship at the university… The goal is to serve the prisoners as part of the university’s social responsibility. From 2000 and until 2014, the program was completely for free… Al-Quds Open University would be the body that would oversee studies for prisoners. That was the agreement. When the implementation began, the [Israeli] prison management forced the Hebrew Open University [on the prisoners], which provides programs that have no connection to our heritage, history, and possibilities… But since 2014… 30% of the costs [are being paid] by the university as a scholarship for all the prisoners, and the rest is paid by the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs without collecting [money] from the prisoner…”

Official PA TV host: “[The program is] not just BA degrees. The prisoners are also obtaining MA degrees –“

Al-Quds Open University Political Science Department Head Ziyad Ayyad: “Correct… It began in 2012, when we began with MA [studies] through brother Dr. Marwan Barghouti, who initiated the MA [program] of Israeli Studies in the prisons. This program has been a great success. We have produced many students with MA diplomas.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 8, 2020]

Marwan Barghouti – Palestinian terrorist and member of the Palestinian Authority parliament who is serving 5 life sentences for orchestrating three shooting attacks in which 5 people were murdered: one attack on the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road (June 12, 2001) in which Greek Orthodox monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorists Ismail Radaida and Yasser Ah'Rabai, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, Yosef Habi, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected as a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. On Dec. 4, 2016, he was elected to Fatah's Central Committee.

UNESCO grants university certificates to Palestinian terrorist prisoners via An-Najah University

UNESCO and An-Najah University issued a certificate to a prisoner for completing a course in International Law and Human Rights. Three of the instructors were convicted murderers:

“Certificate of participation - UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy / An-Najah National University confirms that Mr. Wael Abu Shakhdam has completed a training course in International Law and Human Rights of 15 study hours between the dates of Feb. 25, 2018 - April 30, 2018 at the Nafha Prison
Instructors: Prisoner Yasser Abu Bakr, prisoner Nasser Awais, prisoner Izz Al-Din Hamamrah (i.e., involved in murder of 25) and prisoner Khaled Al-Qorm...
[Signed by: UNESCO] Chair Director Dr. Johnny Asi, [An-Najah National] University Acting President Dr. Maher Natsheh”

[Facebook page of terrorist Wael Abu Shakhdam, Aug. 15, 2020]”

Director of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club in Hebron Amjad Al-Najjar: We want to send our blessings to all of our heroic prisoners… and to heroic prisoner Wael Abu Shakhdam Al-Husseini and Shadi Abu Shakhdam Al-Husseini (i.e., terrorist, planned murder of 6) who have been imprisoned for 18 years …

Sister of Wael Al-Shakhdam and mother of terrorist Shadi Abu Shakhdam: “The proof of their studies [in prison]… I received four certificates in one day…”

Captions:

  1. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logo of IDNILHR)
  2. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logos of UNESCO and An-Najah University)
  3. Certificate for a course in International Law and Human Rights (logo of Fatah)

Father of terrorist Shadi Abu Shakhdam: “Prison is a school. There are those who have succeeded in taking advantage of this and succeeded in receiving higher [education] certificates – MA certificates and a diploma.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Oct. 26, 2019]

Shadi Abu Shakhdam - Palestinian terrorist who participated in planning the suicide bombing carried out by Andalib Takatka near the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda outdoor market on April 12, 2002, in which 6 were murdered and more than 80 wounded. Abu Shakhdam is serving 6 life sentences and an additional 20 years.

Wael Abu Shakhdam – Palestinian prisoner. PMW was unable to determine the nature of his crimes.

Three of the instructors teaching the UNESCO/An-Najah University course in International Law and Human Rights were convicted murderers:

Yasser Abu Bakr – Palestinian terrorist and member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (Fatah’s military wing) who was responsible for a terrorist attack in Netanya on March 9, 2002, in which two terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at the Jeremy Hotel, murdering Avia Malka, a nine-month-old baby, and Israel Yihye, 27. Abu Bakr was also responsible for the murder of Israeli border policeman Constantine Danilov, 23, who was shot while trying to stop two terrorists from infiltrating Israeli territory in the area of Baqa Al-Gharbiya in northern Israel, as they were on their way to committing a suicide bombing on March 30, 2002. Abu Bakr is serving 3 life sentences and an additional 40 years.

Nasser Awais – Palestinian terrorist who planned many attacks, one of the founders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah’s military wing), and assistant to arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Awais was convicted of murdering 14 Israelis and wounding dozens in different attacks: 6 murdered in a shooting attack at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera on Jan. 16, 2002; 3 murdered in a shooting and stabbing attack at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2002; 2 murdered in a shooting attack in Jerusalem on Jan. 22, 2002 ; 2 murdered, 1 a baby, in a hand grenade attack in Netanya on March 9, 2002; one Israeli border policeman murdered when Israeli forces deployed to prevent a planned terror attack in northern Israel on March 31, 2002. Awais is serving 14 life sentences and an additional 50 years.

Izz Al-Din Khaled Hamamrah - Palestinian terrorist and Tanzim (Fatah terror faction) member who recruited 23-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber Muhammad Za'oul, who carried out the suicide bombing of bus no. 14 in Jerusalem on Feb. 22, 2004, in which 8 were murdered and dozens injured. Hamamrah was also involved in shooting attacks in the area of Bethlehem, at the end of 2003 and in February 2004. Hamamrah is serving 10 life sentences.

Khaled Al-Qorm - Palestinian prisoner. PMW was unable to determine the nature of his crimes

Official PA TV program Giants of Endurance, visit to the family of terrorist prisoner Hamza Taqtouq, who murdered 1 together with accomplices

Father of prisoner Hamza Taqtouq: “Allah be praised and with Allah’s mercy, now inside the prison Hamza [Taqtouq] (i.e., terrorist, murdered 1 together with accomplices) is becoming educated and is learning. He is in his third year of university and is about to start the fourth year. This is thanks to the guys who are imprisoned inside, all of them without exception. I should also note Yasser Abu Bakr (i.e., terrorist, responsible for murder of 3), who has the strength and pride to teach Hamza, and I say 1,000 blessings to Yasser Abu Bakr.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Aug. 29, 2019]

Hamza Taqtouq, Bassam Ktei, and Ayham Kamamji – Palestinian terrorists and members of the PA Security Forces and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (Fatah’s military wing) who kidnapped Eliyahu Asheri, 18, on June 25, 2006, and subsequently murdered him. The three hid in the PA headquarters in Ramallah and were later moved to the PA police headquarters, before Israeli security forces besieged the building and arrested them on July 4, 2006. The terrorists were also involved in a thwarted suicide bombing in March 2006. Ktei was sentenced to life and an additional 10 years and Kamamji was sentenced to 2 life sentences; PMW was unable to determine Taqtouq’s sentence.

Official PA TV host: “What is the significance today of you receiving a diploma that brings hope [to the prisoners] through your son?”
Prisoner Muhammad Abu Taha’s father: “I’m proud of my son, who struggled and made an effort and received a diploma… This is something that arouses pride among all the prisoners… Praise Allah, he achieved it. Allah willing, [he’ll also achieve] a PhD…”
PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat: “We in the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee have decided to start courses with official diplomas... Today we distributed [diplomas] to approximately 70 prisoner graduates.”

[Official PA TV, Giants of Endurance, Feb. 6, 2020]

Muhammad Abu Taha - PMW was unable to determine the reason for his imprisonment.

Headline: “Al-Quds Open University and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs celebrate the graduation of four prisoners from Jenin”
“Al-Quds Open University and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs celebrated the graduation yesterday [Aug. 23, 2020] of a number of prisoners in the occupation’s prison, under the auspices of Jenin District Governor Akram Rajoub and Al-Quds Open University President Younes Amr.
Participating [in the ceremony] were… the relatives of four prisoners in the occupation’s prison who completed the requirements to graduate from Al-Quds Open University, and they are: Shadi Muhammad Souqiyyeh (i.e., terrorist, involved in numerous attacks), Muhammad Daoud Tahaineh, Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sharqiyah, and Yahya Jamal Antir (PMW was unable to determine the nature of their crimes –Ed.)…
[Jenin District Governor] Rajoub emphasized that the prisoners are the guardians of the Palestinian cause, and that they are defending the Palestinian people’s honor and its rights to sovereignty over its land and to establishing its independent state.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 24, 2020]

Shadi Muhammad Souqiyyeh – Palestinian terrorist and Islamic Jihad member who was involved in planning and recruiting suicide bombers for a number of suicide bombings that were thwarted by Israel during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005). Souqiyyeh was also involved in a number of explosives and shooting attacks against Israeli security forces near Jenin. Souqiyyeh was arrested on March 27, 2003, while hiding in the Jenin office of the self-described "non-violent" NGO International Solidarity Movement (ISM), where he was being aided by foreign ISM activists. He is serving 30 years.

Headline: “25 prisoners graduated university and received bachelor’s degrees”
“The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs said yesterday [July 26, 2020] that 25 prisoners in the occupation’s prison graduated university and received bachelor’s degrees from Al-Quds Open University in the 2019-2020 academic year.

The commission explained in a statement yesterday that the education program for prisoners is a result of a memorandum of understanding that was signed between the [PA] Ministry of [Education and] Higher Education, the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, and Al-Quds Open University, and that the studies are currently taking place in six prisons: Ketziot, Ramon, Eshel, Gilboa, Nafha, and Ashkelon…

It should be noted that there are currently 1,070 prisoners in the occupation’s prison who are registered for study programs to complete their university bachelor’s degree, including 832 prisoners who are registered for the study program offered by Al-Quds Open University.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 27, 2020]

Headline: “Prisoner Omar Rimawi – a smile against a life sentence”

“Thirty soldiers with full military equipment surrounded him inside the ‘Ofer’ military court hall, and prevented him from even exchanging looks of longing with his mother and father whom he has not seen for over four months, and the one who is called ‘judge’ shouts: ‘life sentence, life sentence.’

The Israeli [military] prosecutor’s office submitted an appeal to the occupation’s court over six months ago, with a request to increase the sentence of prisoner Omar Rimawi (i.e., terrorist, murdered 1 together with an accomplice) from 35 years to life. This was according to its wishes and the wishes of the family of the soldier who was killed in the stabbing operation in February 2016 at the Rami Levy branch in the settlement of Sha’ar Binyamin…

The occupation’s court explained in the sentence: ‘Omar smiled on the day his first sentence was given, and no signs of frustration were visible on him. In addition, he made the “V” sign with his hand, and did not care that he would spend 35 years in prison!’ (PMW has been unable to verify if this was actually said at the sentencing.)

His father, Samir Rimawi, was surprised that this clause appeared in the new sentence, but said that he thinks that the occupation waited until his son turned 18 in order to increase his sentence to life.

His father said: ‘Omar smiled and made a “V” with his hand during the deliberations in his trial because he was in front of his mother whom he misses since he has not seen her for a long time. He wanted to calm her down that he is okay so she would not worry about him, such that his behavior stemmed only from his desire to raise her spirits.’ …
He added: ‘Omar received the new sentence and emphasized that regardless of the sentence, one day he will [obtain] his freedom. His heart and soul always told him this, and therefore he is calm regarding this. We also hope that he will be released soon.’ …

[Omar Rimawi] was in the ninth grade when he was arrested, and today if he was outside of prison he would have been in his first year of university…

Omar is taking advantage of the prison term in order to study beautiful literature and books on politics and religion. He has also completed courses in journalism, first aid, and international rights, and is making sure to exercise in order to stay fit.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 15, 2020]

Omar Rimawi and Ayham Sabah – 14-year-old Palestinian terrorists who stabbed and murdered off-duty Israeli soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman and wounded 1 other Israeli in the Rami Levy supermarket in the town of Sha’ar Binyamin north of Jerusalem on Feb. 18, 2016. Rimawi and Sabah were shot and wounded by an Israeli civilian during the attack and arrested by Israeli police. Rimawi is serving a life sentence and Sabah is serving 35 years.

Image and text posted on the official Fatah Facebook page

The image shows a modified picture of Rateb Al-Hreibat’s head photoshopped on a body wearing a graduation cap and gown and holding a rolled diploma, with the Palestinian flag in the background.

Posted text: “In the name of All-Merciful Allah
‘Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do’ [Quran 58:11]

Prisoner Rateb Al-Hreibat (PMW was unable to determine the details of his crimes –Ed.) from Dura has completed the requirements to receive a master’s degree in ‘Israeli Studies’ from Al-Quds University.

Al-Hreibat registered with the university for advanced studies at the regional studies faculty with a specialization in ‘Israeli Studies’ during his imprisonment in the occupation’s prisons. It should be noted that he was a student at Al-Quds Open University before his imprisonment.

Al-Hreibat was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 24 years of imprisonment…
Fatah Movement leader prisoner Marwan Barghouti (i.e., terrorist, orchestrated three attacks in which 5 were murdered), who holds a doctorate in political science, supervised Al-Hreibat’s master’s degree thesis.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, May 22, 2020]

“The [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs and Al-Quds Open University yesterday [Jan. 8, 2020] honored the family of Martyr prisoner Sami Abu Diak (i.e., terrorist, murdered 4), one of the students of the study program in the occupation’s prisons that the university is running in cooperation with the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, and this was at the university’s presidential building in Ramallah.

Chairman of the [university’s] Board of Trustees Adnan Samarah, university President Dr. Younes Amr, and Director of Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr presented an honorary bachelor’s degree to the family of Martyr student Sami Ahed Abu Diak as well as an honorary plaque

University Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Muhammad Shahin said that Al-Quds Open University ‘has been running a program to teach the students in the occupation’s prisons in recent years, which comes as a result of a memorandum of understanding between the [PA] Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research with the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs and Al-Quds Open University. Until now, the program has included five prisons and approximately 900 student prisoners have joined it.’

He added: ‘This program is extraordinary and approximately 200 graduates who have received bachelor’s degrees in a number of the specializations that the university offers have come out of it, and the studies are being held at five prisons: Ktzi’ot, Ramon, Gilboa, Nafha, and Shikma.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 9, 2020]

Sami Ahed Abu Diak - Palestinian prisoner arrested in 2002 during the 5-year PA terror campaign, the Intifada, and serving 3 life sentences and an additional 30 years. Abu Diak died in prison of cancer on Nov. 26, 2019; Israel had provided cancer treatment for him in prison. PMW has been unable to determine the details of his crimes.

Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Education announced the results of the prisoners’ matriculation exams”
“The [PA] Ministry of Education’s matriculation exams committee yesterday [Nov. 14, 2019] announced the results of the matriculation exams of the prisoners in the occupation’s prisons for 2019…
The matriculation exams committee explained that the number of those sitting the exams was 619 prisoners from 11 different prisons, including six female prisoners, and the number of those who passed was 427, in other words 68.98%. The Ministry of Education and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs conveyed their congratulations and esteem for our brave prisoners, and congratulated those who passed and their relatives on this accomplishment, which was accomplished despite all of the obstacles that the occupation places and through which it strives to deprive the prisoners of education and a dignified life.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 15, 2019]

Official PA TV program I Call You, hosting the family of terrorist prisoner Fadi Abu Al-Sabah, a Hamas explosives expert

Brother of terrorist Fadi Abu Al-Sabah: “We are taking care of his affairs with the [Red] Cross and the attorney, so he should not worry. I prepared the certificates for him for the university, because he wants to register for university.”
Official PA TV host: “Nice, good.”
Brother: “I prepared the matriculation exam certificates of the general high school for him.”
Host: “In other words, so that he will complete-”
Brother: “I prepared all the documents for him and they are ready, so that we will transfer them to a representative of the university. So he should not worry, Allah willing.”

[Official PA TV, I Call You, Oct. 7, 2020]

Fadi Abu Al-Sabah – Hamas explosives expert who entered Israel from the Gaza Strip by misusing a permit for medical treatment in order to establish an explosives lab in the West Bank. Al-Sabah was arrested three days after entering Israel, on May 18, 2019; PMW was unable to determine his sentence.