The latest Palestinian terrorist murderer to receive his Master's Degree in Israeli prison is Maslama Thabet, responsible for the murder of two Israelis.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) news agency Ma'an reports that Thabet received his degree on the 13th anniversary of the start of his 25-year prison sentence. The degree, in Israeli Studies, was received from the Al-Quds Open University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem.
Thabet was convicted of responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of cousins Moti Dayan, 27, and Etgar Zaitouna, 34, in January 2001. They were abducted from a restaurant in Tulkarm, where they were dining with an Israeli-Arab friend, and where Thabet headed the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They were then taken to an open field and shot in the head and chest multiple times.
Ma'an reports that PA terrorist prisoners often receive educational degrees while in Israeli prison. Abd Ala'al Al'anani, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Society's Ramallah branch, was quoted as saying that such educational activity in jail often prepares the prisoners for post-prison life.
The Thabet family thanked senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, himself serving five life sentences for his role in murdering Jews, for supervising their son's Master's thesis. The student himself dedicated his accomplishment to the soul of his mother, who passed away last year without having had a chance to visit her son in jail.
Israel's Prison Service paid for the terrorists' college education until June 2011, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced, in response to the PA's halting of diplomatic negotiations, that PA prisoners would no longer be allowed to pursue academic degrees in prison. In late 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the decision, stating that the right to free university education does not apply to those convicted of terrorist offenses. At the same time, the judges called on prison authorities to be "considerate" regarding prisoners who had already started academic programs.