While kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit has
been rotting in captivity for 1,136 days now, about 100 Palestinian security prisoners jailed in Israel
received a first-level university degree this week from the Open University, which is recognized by Israel's Council for Higher Education.
Some 250 additional security prisoners are currently studying at the Open University.
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These figures have been presented by Deputy Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ziad Abu-Ayin, who says that his ministry pays the jailed students' tuition fee "so that they can serve the Palestinian people after their release."
Some of the prisoners who have received a diploma or are still studying are affiliated with Hamas.
Security prisoners jailed in Israel enjoy further generous benefits, including hot water all day long, ventilators, a television with all Arab channels, and the option to borrow books from the prison library. In addition, each prisoner has a walkman, a radio and a budget for the jail's canteen.
The security prisoners are allowed the send four letters a month and receive an unlimited number of letters. They are entitled to a family visit once every two weeks, and are allowed to have their picture taken by the prison's photographer and to send the photo to their families.
Additional benefits include a daily morning exercise and regular medical treatments, including dental care and a visit by an optician.
Last March, the government appointed a ministerial committee to look into cutting Palestinian prisoners' benefits. The committee presented its recommendations, but the cabinet has yet to discuss the matter.