Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef has a just written a book, Son of Hamas which is surely going to cause some controversy. Mosab, who now resides in California, writes about how starting in 1996 he became an informant for Israel, passing information about suicide bombers and terrorist attack to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, from the innermost circles of Hamas.

He tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organisation, the Haaretz newspaper said.

Information supplied by him led to the arrests of some of the most- wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader tipped as a potential president, who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, along with one of Hamas’s top bombmakers, Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

Mr Yousef had harsh words for the movement that his father helped to form, and which now rules the Gaza Strip after a bloody takeover in the summer of 2007. “Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis,” he said. “That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a ceasefire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis.”

Mr Yousef’s former Israeli handler, identified only as Captain Loai, praised the resolve of his agent, whose codename derived from the colour of Islam and Hamas’s banner and from his exalted position within an organisation that regularly kills those suspected of collaborating with the Jewish state.

“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” he said. “The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money. 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.” … On one occasion he followed a bomber from Manara Square in the centre of Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem.

“We didn’t know his name or what he looked like — only that he was in his 20s and would be wearing a red shirt,” said the former handler. “We sent the Green Prince to the square and with his acute sense, he located the target within minutes. He saw who picked him up, followed the car and made it possible for us to arrest the suicide bomber and the man who was supposed to give him the belt. So another attack was thwarted, though no one knows about it.

Helping Israeli intelligence foil suicide bomber attacks isn’t the only thing Mosab has done which may cause anger back in his homeland. The son of Hamas’s founder also converted to Christianity a decade ago, though he kept his conversion a secret until he was able to emigrate to the US.

Mr Yousef said that his questioning of Islam and Hamas began early. His father, a pragmatist who has even suggested Hamas would be willing to talk to Israel under certain conditions, would often accept his concerns, such as the targeting of civilians.

Mr Yousef said that his doubts about Islam and Hamas crystallised when he realised not all Hamas leaders were like his father, a moderate who he describes as “open-minded, very humble and honest”.

Mr Yousef said that he was appalled by the brutality of the movement, including the suicide bombers seeking glory through jihad.

“Hamas, they are using civilians’ lives, they are using children, they are using the suffering of people every day to achieve their goals. And this is what I hate,” he said.

It was after a chance encounter nine years ago with a British missionary that Mr Yousef began exploring Christianity.

He found it “exciting”, he said, and began secretly studying the Bible, struck by the central tenet “love your enemies”.

He said that after he converted to Christianity, he decided he had to escape and “live my life away from violence because I couldn’t coexist with that situation as a Christian.”

“I was thinking, what is my responsibility now? To see people dying every day or to stand up and say, this is wrong, this is right and be strong about this? So I had to make this move.”

Mr Yousef said that his father, who has spent more than a decade in Israeli jails for his involvement with Hamas, was in prison when he “got the worst news in his life” – that his son had become a Christian and left Ramallah. “But at the same time he sent me a message of love.

“Everybody is asking him to disown me. You understand if he disowns me he will give terrorists a chance to kill me. “He loves me as a son and he believes that what I’ve done was something I believed in, but at the same time it’s very difficult for him to understand and he won’t be able to understand.”

10 Responses to Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

  • A wonderful story Darwin. He of course will now be a marked man by Hamas, unless the influence of his father can protect him.

  • Now who could doubt a French communist paper? No Karlson, although it is an article of faith of the Israel hating Left, the Mossad did not create Hamas.

  • I’m not entirely clear what your point is, Henry. Yes, there are persistent rumors that Mossad initially gave some covert support to Hamas in hopes that they would weaken other Palestinian nationalist organizations. However, even if one accepts that as entirely correct, it doesn’t change the fact that Hamas is in fact run by Palestinian nationalists and religious radicals, and that it is in no way controlled by Israel or doing what Israel wants at this point. This is like when people point to the fact that the US supported Islamist insurgents against the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the 80s and then make the irrational leap from there to suggesting that Al Qaeda is in some sense US controlled or doing what the US wants.

    If anything, it’s a good example of why governments should be very leery of helping nationalist insurgent movements in hopes of some pragmatic gain. But I’m not clear what bearing it’s supposed to have on the story of Mosab Yousef, either his work against terrorism or his conversion to Christianity.

  • Let’s look at this clearly:

    The son himself is more or less admitting the family work with Hamas is all as informants for Israeli intelligence. That it has been suggested, with good evidence, that his father was indeed doing that from the beginning, and we see him saying he was doing it, there is a good case that the whole Hamas was indeed just that. And if we see that is the formation, then it is not hard to see further actions, even now, are in line with the Mossad and at their orders. Something is fishy with his story (as with many other “former Hamas” who then create all kinds of legends about Palestinians which are false).

  • No, Henry, that’s not looking at it clearly, that’s looking at it nonsensically.

    If there’s serious evidence which seems credible to those in Gaza that Sheikh Yousef works for Israel, why does he continue to be revered by Palestinian nationalists and elected to the Palestinian Parliament, even as he’s imprisoned by the Israelis?

    He in no way says that his whole family are informants for Israel, in fact he says the _opposite_. Where are you getting that?

    I mean, seriously, what are you trying to suggest here? That Israel is fighting a proxy war against itself through Hamas just to keep the Palestinians in Gaza down and have an excuse to cause trouble? And that in the process, the totally innocent populace, which would on its own have no interest in such a movement unless provoked by the evil Israelis, were in the process duped into elected Hamas as their dominant political party in Gaza? Surely that’s not where you’re going. That makes about as much sense as the old Protocol Of The Elders of Zion narratives, and probably springs from roughly the same instincts.

    Seeing defectors from violent and despotic regimes join the other side is hardly unusual. There was, for instance, a steady trickle of defections (some of them fairly high level) from the communist bloc countries to various Western nations throughout the height of the Cold War. And exactly what “legends about Palestinians which are false” are being spread here?

    I get that you have a strong dislike of Israel, but don’t lead that into accepting every crack-pot theory you run into on the “internets”. That way lies madness (or at least extreme conversational tedium.)

  • Lovely case of the apple not only falling far from the tree, but being an entirely different type of fruit.

    Hope the guy has a CC license.

  • I think that the historical record is pretty clear that the geo-politics of the U.S. and also that of Israel- was from the 50′s well into the 80′s, that the threat to the status quo was found in Arab/Persian secular nationalist movements- this led to many decisions to support in mostly covert ways- the Islamist movements- which they hoped would be ultimately controllable much like the conservative but radical House of Saud- just keep a lid on the people redirecting them from concerns over foreign dominance in the economy and so forth. Fromkin’s treatise on the history from after WWI – A Peace to End all Peace- is necessary reading.

    Of course, I don’t find too many on the Right here in America willing to accept the fact that the causes of many of America and Israel’s current problems of security are found in the geopolitics of the past decades- just as not many are fond of looking squarely at the question of just what are America’s “interests” that have defined our collective governmental and corporate behavior towards other nations and lands over the past decades. I am a Catholic and an idealist- I don’t accept the philosophical premises of Pragmatism or Real Politick- so I took Pope John Paul II’s advice and looked at the root causes of Middle Eastern terrorism and Palestinian violence, and found many unsavory partnerships, historical patterns of imperialism/neo-imperialism, and flaws all around. The choice to try to quell, disrupt or destroy nationalist movements across the Middle East- before the Islamists were dominant- similar to the way the U.K. decided to deal with the Irish Catholics by way of overwhelming force and dehumanization- these approaches led to more rage and temptation to violence- that much is certain in my mind.

    If one wants to box in the Left as America haters, then I would return the favor and declare that the Right is the group of ideologues that loves America but could care less for the rest of the world. Of course, since I am not a Leftist ideologue I don’t believe that either statement above is true- but the true Left and Right believers seem to really believe that all criticisms coming from the Left or Right are always wrong- never right- and that approach to things is decidedly one-sided, ideological, and definitely contrary to the life and teaching example of our Magisterium/Holy See on matters related to global politics. I want to be defined by my love of Truth, not by my hatred to one or another ideological group that will soon change, fade or die off.

    For the record- I don’t support or condone Hamas terror attacks, I don’t support Israel’s rejection of Palestinian rights to a true independent nation, I don’t support the huge flow of American tax money and political clout to support Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian case according to international law and UN resolutions- as well the Holy See and Holy Land Hierarchical positions on such. I do support the positions of the Holy Land’s Catholic Hierarchy- and I reject the idea that American Catholics know better than Palestinian Catholics, the situation dealing with Muslims and Israelis in Israel/Palestine. I spent 3 months living with Palestinian Catholics to research some of this at the ground level. Not many who have actually spent time with the people and the clergy there in the Holy Land come away from the experience and fall all over themselves praising the U.S. and Israeli policies- quite the contrary- so either the palestinian Catholics are excellent brain-washers, or the facts on the ground just scream the truth which only a brute could ignore.

  • I’m not clear that it is the case that conservatives reject the notion that the problems in today’s Middle East are to a great extent the result of the machinations of the Western powers after the Great War and WW2. It’s fairly obvious that the fact that the Allies helped bring European ideas of ethnic and cultural nationalism to the Middle East in order to undermine Turkey, and in the process ended up promising multiple groups the same territory, would result in nationalist strife. Indeed, both Israelis and Palestinians can rightly feel aggrieved in that the European powers had at various time promised both Arabs and Jews control over the entire region.

    However, I think what conservatives (rightly) reject is that the fact that the Middle East was infected with ideas of ethnic nationalism and then forced into a highly compromised set of borders somehow means that the behavior of nationalistic groups in the region is somehow justified.

    At this point, it’s been a very, very long time since the ’48 and ’67. I think the best and most Catholic outcomes would be either:

    - For the West Bank and Gaza strip to cease thinking of themselves as temporary camps until they’re able to return to lands within Israel’s current borders, and instead focus on building a stable and peaceful country where they are now

    - Even better, for people to get past that nationalistic idea that each ethnic/cultural group should have its own exclusive state. Israel has, at least, made more progress in this area than any other country in the region, in that it has had throughout its history Arab Muslim and Druze members of the Knesset. While I would see it as better if Israel was simply a “state” rather than a “Jewish state”, it is by far the freest and most egalitarian country in the region to live in — so long as one isn’t bent on blowing up its citizens.

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