Palestinian Terrorist Murderer Finishes Master’s Degree in Israeli Prison
The Palestinian Birzeit University launched its 2022 graduation ceremonies by granting an MA to Palestinian terrorist murderer Zakariya Zubeidi. Announcing the award, a university judging committee member said:
[Zakariya Zubeidi] completed [his studies] with highest honor in implementation, and with highest honor in theoretical thinking. This is a success for Palestine, for the fighter’s rifle.
[Official PA TV, “Palestine This Morning,” July 3, 2022]
The official Palestinian Authority (PA) daily used the event as on opportunity to attack Israel — which it referred to, as usual, as “the occupation” — calling the arrest of a terrorist murderer a “violation against education”:
Yesterday, Friday, Birzeit University began its graduation ceremony celebrations of the 47th class of its students from the legal and public administration faculty and the faculty for higher education…
The occupation’s actions and violations against education in Palestine were present at the graduation ceremony, as the student daughter of prisoner Zakariya Zubeidi who is imprisoned in the occupation’s [prison] cells, received her father’s master’s degree diploma in modern Arab studies.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 2, 2022]
Zubeidi was the head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (Fatah’s military wing) in the Jenin area during the 2000-2005 PA terror campaign. During that period, he oversaw numerous lethal attacks. Despite his terror activities, in 2007, as part of a deal with the PA, Zubeidi was taken off Israel’s wanted list on the condition that he refrain from further participation in terror. He was subsequently given a position in the PA Ministry of “Prisoners”Affairs, and made a Fatah Revolutionary Council member.
Despite having received a second chance in life, Zubeidi was arrested by Israel on Feb. 27, 2019, for again participating in shooting attacks against Israelis.
While he was working in his prison cell on finishing his MA, some of his fellow prisoners, in Israel’s Gilboa Prison, were busy digging a tunnel to escape from prison. On Sept. 6, 2021, together with 5 Islamic Jihad terrorist prisoners who shared a cell with him, Zubeidi escaped. He was rearrested on Sept. 11, 2021.
The PA-funded Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs also celebrated that Zubeidi received his degree with a special post on its Facebook page:
Posted text: “Loyalty in exchange for loyalty, freedom to prisoner commander Zakariya Zubeidi”
[Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, July 2, 2022]
The video linked to the post shows the daughter of Zubeidi holding a poster of him aloft while receiving his MA diploma.
Zubeidi is not the only terrorist prisoner who received his degree. Another terrorist receiving an MA degree was Assaf Zahran. Zahran is serving 5 life sentences for transporting 18-year-old suicide bomber Ahmed Abu Khalil to the entrance of the Hasharon Mall in Netanya where he murdered 5 Israelis — Rachel Ben Abu, Nofar Horowitz (both 16), Anya Lifshitz (50), Julia Voloshin (31), and Cpl. Moshe Maor Jan (21) — and wounded 88 others on July 12, 2005:
Prisoner Assaf Zahran 46, began his 18th consecutive year in the occupation’s prison since he was arrested in 2005. He was sentenced to 5 life sentences and 22.5 [additional] years…
During his years in captivity, he succeeded in completing his studies and received a master’s degree.
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 14, 2022]
As Palestinian Media Watch has exposed, the PA-funded Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs spends millions of dollars every year, ostensibly paying fees to the different universities that provide degrees to the terrorist prisoners.
A 2011 decision of the Israel government prohibited university studies for the terrorist prisoners. While the PA, the PA universities, and the terrorists themselves gloat about the studies of the terrorist prisoners, the Israel Prison Service claims that it fully upholds the decision of the government and that the prisoners are not really studying.
Studying for free is only one of numerous benefits terrorist prisoners receive from the PA. In addition, they also receive monthly salaries that rise with time spent in prison. Since Zubeidi had spent five years in prison for previous terror offenses, upon his arrest, this time, the PA immediately started paying him a salary of 4,000 shekels ($1,286) per month. To date, the PA has paid Zubeudi a cumulative sum of no less than 160,000 ($51,440) shekels.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, Adv. is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.