Wednesday, April 5, 2017

484 terrorist prisoners getting degrees in Israeli prisons.

Video- Why Isn't There a Palestinian State?

           BA degree earned by terrorist prisoner
involved in murder of Israel's Minister of Tourism

By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik 5-4-2017

 For the full article go to Palestinian Medium Watch-

  • 484 terrorist prisoners are studying for BA degrees in Al-Quds Open University program, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education
  • Terrorist prisoners with academic degrees supervise, test other terrorists, and grade them; lawyers bring in study materials, and bring out grades to be recorded at the university
  • Tuition paid by PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, which is funded by the Palestinian National Fund, recently declared a terror organization by Israel
  • Israeli law prohibits university programs for terrorists in prison, as they constitute a reward for terror
Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Maurice Hirsch

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 [March 13, 2017] celebrated the graduation of prisoners Majdi Hussein Yusuf Al-Rimawi..."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 14, 2017]

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. [Al-Quds, March 1, 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." [The Al-Quds Open University Message, December 2016]

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. In accordance with these, since 2011, security prisoners are no longer permitted to participate in degree courses. 

Furthermore, it is important to stress that 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 on March 16, 2017.

According to Israeli Supreme Court President Miriam Naor's ruling in 2015, this is a further reason not to allow 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."
[Further hearing of the Israeli High Court of Justice 204/13, ruling 22, page 19]

An article in the Al-Quds Open University newspaper describes how the program bypasses the Israeli Prison Service (IPS):
  • The PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs pays tuition
  • Lawyers bring in study materials
  • The university appoints terrorist prisoners with a master's or a doctoral degree to oversee the terrorist students, give tests, and grade them
  • Lawyers bring out grades to be recorded at the university
Director-General of the study program in the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Muhammad Al-Batta explained the success of the program:

"It 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 (i.e., PA funded organization)."

"He explained that the study course materials are being brought in and the grades are being brought out [to be recorded at the university] with the aid of the lawyers. He added: 'This program is being carried out far from the Israeli Prison Service, for it has no connection with it as the books are being brought in by the lawyers, and this is also how the grades are being transferred.' Al-Batta noted that the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs is the one funding this program through the payment of tuition."
[The Al-Quds Open University Message, December 2016]

The Al-Quds Open University study program is introduced at prisons where lawyers are able to bring in study materials, and where prisoners with academic degrees can form an "academic supervisory committee" to oversee the studies:

"Among these important conditions [for setting up the program] are the ability to bring the study course materials into the prison and the presence of at least five prisoners with a master's or doctoral degree who will serve as the program's supervisory committee within the prison. This committee is the one that is responsible before the university, the [PLO] Commission of Prisoners' Affairs, and the [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education for all of the processes, the activities, and the supervision of the study process with all of its components, including examinations, transferring the grades to the university, and signing the grade lists."
[The Al-Quds Open University Message, December 2016]

President of Al-Quds Open University, Professor Younes Amr, stated that 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."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 14, 2017]

Interestingly, 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.

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on other terrorist prisoners who have obtained academic degrees while imprisoned.  

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


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