Jailed Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in attacks that killed and wounded several Israelis during the second intifada, has completed his doctorate in political science, his supporters said over the weekend.

Barghouti, 50, is one of several hundred Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons who enroll in studies at universities around the world, including in Israel.

According to his supporters, Barghouti was accepted by the University of Cairo and the Arab Academy for Research and Studies in the Egyptian capital back in 1999, three years before he was arrested by the IDF.

Barghouti’s doctoral thesis is titled “The Legislative and Political Performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council and its Contribution to the Democratic Process in Palestine from 1996 to 2008.”

The 341-page document will be brought on Tuesday for discussion before a special panel headed by Prof. Ahmad Yussuf, dean of the Arab Academy for Research and Studies.

Barghouti was able to complete his thesis with the help of hundreds of books and documents that Israeli authorities allow inmates to bring into prison.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are currently enrolled as students with the Open University of Israel, which facilitates their studies by allowing them to sit exams in jail.


Barghouti, who is also a Fatah member on the Palestinian Legislative Council, completed his high school exams while in Israeli prison in 1980. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history/ political science and in international relations, respectively, from Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah. His master’s thesis dealt with Palestinian-French relations from 1967 to 1997.

On May 20, 2004, he was convicted of five counts of murder - including authorizing and organizing the Sea Food Market attack in Tel Aviv in which three civilians were killed. He was acquitted of 21 counts of murder in 33 other attacks for “lack of sufficient evidence.” On June 6, 2004, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the five murders and 40 years imprisonment for the attempted murder.

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