Article is translated from Hebrew. For original Hebrew article, click here.

Fake studies: The Palestinian Authority is bestowing Bachelor’s degrees to the families of terrorists to increase their pride in their sons.  The mastermind behind the 2002 bombing in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem has a “Master’s” in the “foundations of diplomacy.”

By: Yishai Friedman

The parents of Shadi Abu-Shahidam from Hebron are very proud.  Their son, currently serving six life sentences in Israeli prison, recently received a certificate testifying to his coursework in the “foundations of diplomacy,” as well as a Master’s diploma in “international law and human rights.”  The happy parents, who received the diplomas on their son’s behalf at a festive ceremony, stood for pictures with top PA officials- including leading PLO figure and head of the Palestinian Priosners Club, Kadoura Fares.

The diplomas that Abu-Shahidam received describe an outstanding student with great achievements in the fields of diplomacy and human rights, but he is in fact a terrorist, masterminding the 2002 suicide bombing in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem- as well as other terrorist attacks, in which 6 people were murdered.

Abu-Shahidam is not the only terrorist to receive a Master’s in “international law and human rights” from the PA recently.  At a PA ceremony held in the summer, leading PA officials presented diplomas to William Hatib Rimawi, a leading Tanzim member who was involved in many terrorist attacks, including the murder of Lt. Yair Nevenzal from Neve Tzuf in 2001; to Ahed Abu-Gaholma, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who planned the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001; to Ahmed Abu-Awad, who was the member of a cell that planned to kidnap Israeli civilians and to Latifa Abu-Hamid ( “Um Hamid”) who five of her children are serving 18 life sentences for terrorist attacks and acts of murder against Israeli civilians.

Where exactly did these incarcerated terrorists receive their education?  Nowhere, apparently.  According to the Israel Prisons Service (IPS), there is no educational track in the facilities in which these terrorists are held, nor has there been for the last 10 years.  Educators and textbooks are not permitted in the prisons.  According to the IPS, these are “fake studies.”  The PA is presenting what they claim are Bachelor’s degrees to the parents of terrorists in order to give them a sense of pride in their sons who have been sitting in prison for years, but what are in fact meaningless pieces of paper.

The suspicion that these degrees don’t indicate any formal studies is strengthened by the PA’s claim that the courses in human rights and diplomacy were taught by a mysterious Norwegian organization, known as the International Diplomatic Network of International Law and Human Rights (IDNILHR).  It’s unclear that the group actually exists.  On its website, it claims to have 30 branches around the world, but no addresses are provided and there is no way to contact them.

According to NGO Monitor, “the phenomenon of organizations hiding political goals by using the language of human rights is not new to us.  In the past, we’ve shown how European -funded human rights NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are tied to terrorist organizations and do not undergo serious vetting.”

“This case involves a fictitious organization with no mention in the real world, utilized by the PA to praise terrorists with blood on their hands and to whitewash their actions with the help of an imaginary diploma in human rights.  Any country that values human rights must denounce the cynical abuse of these values by the PA, and the glorification of terrorists who murdered innocent civilians.”