Inside an Israeli prison. (Moshe Shai/Flash90) (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
prison

Palestinian security prisoners are acquiring degrees in prison, in incentive for terrorism and in contradiction of Israeli law. 

484 Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons are studying for BA degrees in Al-Quds Open University program in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Education, and in direct contradiction of Israeli law.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which monitors Palestinian incitement to terrorism, wrote in a report that terrorist prisoners with academic degrees supervise, test other terrorists, and grade them, while lawyers bring in study materials, and bring out grades to be recorded at the university.

The Al-Quds Open University program for prisoners is funded by the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which is funded by the Palestinian National Fund. The Palestinian National Fund was declared a terror organization by Israel in March. According to Israeli Supreme Court President Miriam Naor’s ruling in 2015, this is a further reason to ban the studies.

“I see no place to intervene in the decision of the [Israeli] Prison Service, according to which it is not obliged to allow prisoners to acquire academic education, despite its importance, if it becomes clear that the funding for this arrives from terror organizations… Transfers of money from terror organizations to prisoners – whether as compensation for the crimes that they committed, or as an incentive to continue ideological activity against the State [of Israel] – are liable to endanger the security of the state,” she said in her ruling

All this is conducted in contradiction to Israeli law, which prohibits university programs for terrorists in prison, as they constitute a reward for terror.

Terrorist prisoner Majdi Al-Rimawi, a Palestinian terrorist serving a life sentence for participating in the planning and carrying out of the murder of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, has just received a BA degree in prison.

“Al-Quds Open University and the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs yesterday celebrated the graduation of prisoners Majdi Hussein Yusuf Al-Rimawi,” the PA’s official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported in mid-March.

Breaking Israeli Law in Israeli Prisons

As a response to the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Israeli government decision to prohibit terrorist prisoners from studying for academic degrees, the Palestinian Al-Quds Open University started offering studies to prisoners in March 2016.

The program is based on a “memorandum of understanding with the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs and the [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education,”  according to a statement by the Al-Quds Open University Message issued in December.

Prisoners in general, and security prisoners in particular, are only allowed to conduct specific activities permitted to them by Israeli law and the rules of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS). In accordance with these, since 2011 security prisoners are no longer permitted to participate in degree courses.

Director-General of the study program in the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Muhammad Al-Batta, explaining the success of the program, said that the program “is not dependent on the whims of the Israeli Prison Service and its steps, but rather is being carried out in direct contact with the academic supervisory committees within the prisons through a lawyer on behalf of the Prisoners’ Club,” a PA funded organization.

Empowering ‘Our Prisoner Sons’

President of Al-Quds Open University, Professor Younes Amr, stated three prisons are involved so far, with a total of 484 prisoner students studying in three main departments: Arabic Language, Islamic Education, and Social Work. The university is hoping to add a fourth prison and reach a total of 600 students.

At a ceremony celebrating terrorist Al-Rimawi’s degree, Director of Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake said the Israeli prisons have become “universities” that “empower our prisoner sons.”

“We have shattered the life sentence and the prison time, as this is not just an academic certificate but a certificate of hope and a future. This is a part of our philosophy and our efforts to empower our prisoner sons… Through the studies, the prisons have turned into universities in which there are creativity, science, studies, and lectures,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported.

While the program was only initiated in March 2016, only a year later, terrorist Al-Rimawi already obtained a BA degree from Al-Quds Open University.

PMW has notified the IPS that hundreds of Palestinian terrorist prisoners continue to study for academic degrees in spite of the ban.

By: United with Israel Staff

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