Palestinian resistance icon and detainee Zakaria Zubeidi obtains Master's degree while in prison

Palestinian resistance icon and detainee Zakaria Zubeidi obtains Master's degree while in prison
2 min read
03 July, 2022
Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the six Palestinian Gilboa prison escapees and a symbol of Palestinian resistance, successfully completed his Master's degree in Contemporary Arab Studies from Birzeit University, despite being held in prison.
Zakaria Zubeidi, centre, is one of the six Palestinian escapees from the high-security Gilboa prison last year, who have since been re-captured [Getty]

A Palestinian man currently detained in prison has successfully obtained a Master’s degree from the West Bank’s Birzeit University.

Zakaria Zubeidi, who is one of six prisoners who escaped from Israel’s Gilboa prison in September last year, received his degree in Contemporary Arab Studies, reported Arabi21.

Due to his detention, his daughter Samira said that she received her father’s certificate on his behalf, according to a post on Facebook.

He is also a former leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, as well as the co-founder of the Jenin Freedom Theatre. His brother, Daoud Zubeidi, recently succumbed to his injuries caused by Israeli forces during a raid on a Jenin refugee camp in May.

Zubeidi is widely considered an icon of the Palestinian cause due to his participation in the Second Intifada as a teenager.

Another brother, Yehia, said in an interview with Al Jazeera Mubasher: "With the knowledge and culture of the Palestinians, we will continue the march that does not stop with any arrest, martyrdom or torture," following his brother’s recent graduation.


Zubeidi was arrested in Ramallah in February 2019 by Israeli forces on charges including shooting attacks on Israeli buses in the occupied West Bank, days before he finalised his thesis topic.

His thesis, entitled "The Hunter and the Dragon: Hunting in the Palestinian Experience 1968-2018," was completed while in detention.

The dissertation treated the experience of Palestinians who are often persecuted by Israeli forces.

Zubeidi famously managed to escape the Gilboa high-security prison in September last year, alongside five other Palestinian detainees.

Israeli security officials said that the six men broke out of prison via a tunnel dug under a toilet in their cell.

Their escape was highly lauded by Palestinians, with activists describing it as "an indicator that the seemingly impenetrable Zionist colonial regime is in fact penetrable".

Israeli authorities however, re-captured and re-arrested the escapees. Zubeidi and his fellow detainees accused Israeli authorities of torturing and abusing them since.

Zubeidi is currently detained without trial, according to Arabi21.