Israel is buzzing with the news that one of the most valuable Palestinian informants to Israel’s security service is none other than the son of one of the founders of Hamas.
In an interview published in full in Friday’s Ha’aretz magazine, Mosab Hassan Yousef discussed the decade he spent passing information about Hamas to Israel, exposed of a number of terrorist cells, and prevented dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.
According to Ha’aretz, Yousef–the oldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of Hamas’ founders and its top official in the West Bank– was considered the most reliable of the security services’ sources on Hamas,:
… earning himself the nickname “the Green Prince” – using the color of the Islamist group’s flag, and “prince” because of his pedigree …
During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel’s plan to assassinate his father.
Perhaps even more dangerous for Yousef than spying for Israel, however, is the fact that Yousef converted to Christianity 10 years ago. Yousef, now 32, fled the West Bank in 2007 and now lives in California. In 2008, he went public with his conversion — also in an interview with Ha’aretz.
After the article about his faith ran, the al-Qaida-affiliated Global Islamic Media Front released a statement calling for his death. Quoting Mohamed, the statement said, “Whoever alters his religion, kill him.” [emphasis theirs]
It is only now–on the eve of publication of Son of Hamas, his new book, which is being released by Tyndale next month–that Yousef is going public about his work with Israel. The book a childhood spent being groomed for the Hamas leadership, about his conversion and faith (his publisher pithily ays he “embraced instead the teachings of another famous Middle East leader”), his agonizing separation from family and homeland, his the dangerous decision to make his newfound faith public, and his belief that the Christian mandate to “love your enemies” is the only way to peace in the Middle East.
While his own father’s comrades may call him an infidel or worse, Israelis marvel at his bravery:
“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it. People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it,” Ha’aretz quotes his handler, who his book calls “Captain Loai”:
Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. “The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money,” he says. “He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours – the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts.”
Speaking by phone from California, Yousef told Ha’aretz that he wishes he were in Gaza now so that he could help the IDF liberate kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. But Yousef argued against the sort of prisoner swaps that have been discussed: “We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done.”
Mosab told the newspaper that he acted in accordance with his beliefs, which compelled him to hate Hamas.
Buy the book here.