Palestinian security prisoners (archives)
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.
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."
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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.