Mosab Hassan Yousef

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Mosab Hassan Yousef
Born Mosab Hassan Yousef[1][2]
1978 (age 35–36)[2]
Ramallah, Palestinian territories[2]
Residence San Diego, California, United States[2]
Other names Joseph[2]
Ethnicity Palestinian[1]
Known for Covert defection to Israel in 1997,[1] and conversion from Islam to Christianity[2]
Religion Nondenominational Christian
Parents Sheikh Hassan Yousef (father)[1]
Military career
Allegiance Israel Israel[1]
Service/branch Shin Bet[1]
Years of service 1997–2007[1]

Mosab Hassan Yousef (Arabic: مصعب حسن يوسف‎) (born 1978)[3] is a Palestinian and son of a Hamas founder and leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef.[1] From 1997 to 2007, he worked undercover for Israel's internal security service Shin Bet, which considered him its most valuable source within the Hamas leadership.[1]

According to Israeli sources, the information Yousef supplied prevented dozens of suicide attacks and assassinations of Israelis, exposed numerous Hamas cells,[1] and assisted Israel in hunting down many militants, including his own father.[4] In March 2010, he published his autobiography titled Son of Hamas.[5]

Yousef has since converted to Christianity and moved to California.[2] His request for political asylum in the United States was granted pending a routine background check on June 30, 2010.[6]

Biography[edit]

Mosab Hassan Yousef (later Joseph) [2] was born in Ramallah, a city 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) north of Jerusalem. His father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was a Hamas founder and leader who spent many years in Israeli prisons.[2][3][7] He is the oldest of five brothers and three sisters.[2][8]

According to Yousef, when he was growing up he wanted to be a fighter because that was expected of Arab children in the West Bank.[9] Yousef was first arrested when he was ten, during the First Intifada, for throwing rocks at Israeli settlers.[9] He was further arrested and jailed by the Israelis numerous times.[3] As his father's eldest son, he was seen as his heir apparent[2] and became an important part of the Hamas organization.[3] Yousef claims that his doubts about Islam and Hamas began forming when he realized Hamas' brutality, and that he hated how Hamas used the lives of suffering civilians and children to achieve their goals.[2] Yousef was held by Shin Bet agents in 1996. He claims that while in prison, he became appalled at Shin Bet's interrogation methods which he considered humane, when compared to how Hamas operatives tortured imprisoned suspected collaborators.[10] He decided to accept a Shin Bet approach to become an informant.[11]

Espionage career[edit]

Since his release from prison in 1997, Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname the "Green Prince" – using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of Hamas cells as well as the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures. He has claimed that he did not inform for money but rather that his motivations were ideological and religious, and that he only wanted to save lives.[12] In order to thwart any suspicions of collaboration, the Shin Bet staged an arrest attempt, telling the Israel Defense Forces to launch an operation to arrest him, and then provided him intelligence allowing him to escape at the last minute, after which he went into hiding for the rest of his career.

Yousef says he supplied intelligence only on the condition that the "targets" would not be killed, but arrested. This led to the detention of several key Palestinian leaders, including Ibrahim Hamid, a Hamas commander in the West Bank, and Marwan Barghouti. Also, Yousef claims to have thwarted a 2001 plot to assassinate Shimon Peres, then foreign minister and now President of Israel. "Many people owe him their lives and don't even know it", says his former Shin Bet officer.[13]

Conversion to Christianity[edit]

In 1999, Yousef met a British missionary who introduced him to Christianity.[2] Between the years 1999 and 2000, Yousef gradually embraced Christianity. In 2005, he was secretly baptized in Tel Aviv by a Christian tourist. He left the West Bank for the United States in 2007 and lived some time in San Diego, California, where he joined the Barabbas Road Church.[2]

In August 2008, Yousef publicly revealed his Christianity and renounced Hamas and the Arab leadership, thereby endangering himself and exposing his family in Ramallah to persecution.[2] Yousef has also claimed that his aim was to bring peace to the Middle East. He still hopes to return to Israel when there is peace.[2]

Mosab has stated that despite his conversion to Christianity, he is against all religion and does not adhere to any denomination of Christianity. He has stated "Religion steels freedom, kills creativity, turns us into slaves and against one another. Yes, I am talking about Christianity as well as Islam. Most Christians I have seen seem to have missed the point that Jesus redeemed us from religion. Religion is nothing but man's attempts to get back to God. Whether it is Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, any ism. Religion can't save mankind." [14]

Autobiography[edit]

Yousef's autobiography, Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices , written with the assistance of Ron Brackin, was published in March 2010[1][15]

Yousef's brother Ouwais denounced the report about his brother's activities, saying: "It was full of lies – it's all lies". He also revealed that the last contact between his family and Mosab took place over a year before the news of his spying.[16] Sheikh Hassan Yousef, Mosab's father, while in an Israeli prison, disowned his son for spying for Israel.[4] The Haaretz report on Yousef was described by Hamas MP Mushir al-Masri as "psychological war being waged against the Palestinian people...[it] did not deserve a response."[16]

Deportation and political asylum[edit]

For a time, Mosab Hassan Yousef was threatened with deportation from the U.S. after his request for political asylum was denied, since statements in his book about working for Hamas were interpreted as providing material support to a U.S.-designated terrorist organization," despite Yousef's explanation that they were "intended to undermine the group." His case then proceeded to the deportation stage, despite Yousef’s advocates warning that he would likely be executed by the Palestinian Authority if deported to the West Bank.[17]

On June 24, 2010 Shin Bet handler Gonen Ben-Itzhak, who for 10 years worked with Mosab Hassan Yousef under the cryptonym "Loai," revealed his own identity in order to testify on behalf of Yousef at an immigration hearing in San Diego. Itzhak described Yousef as a "true friend" and said "he risked his life every day in order to prevent violence."[18][19]

Partially as a result of this, Immigration Court Judge Richard J. Bartolomei, Jr. ruled, on June 30, 2010, that Yousef will be allowed to remain in the United States after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check.[6]

Films[edit]

Yousef is collaborating with Israeli producer Sam Feuer, in the production of two films: a feature film adaptation of Yousef's book Son of Hamas, and a historical depiction of the life of the Prophet Muhammad based on the accounts of eighth-century historian Ibn Ishaq.[20]

Mosab's documentary adaptation of Son of Hamas was entitled The Green Prince and premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.[21]

The Green Prince (directed and written by Nadav Schirman), won the Sundance Film Festival award in the category of Audience Award for World Cinema: Documentary in Park City, Utah.

Published works[edit]

  • Hassan Yousef, Mosab (2 March 2010). Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices (First ed.). Carol Stream, Illinois: SaltRiver. ISBN 978-1-4143-3307-6. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Issacharoff, Avi (February 24, 2010). "Haaretz exclusive: Hamas founder's son worked for Shin Bet for years". Haaretz. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Elsworth, Catherine; Carolynne Wheeler (August 24, 2008). "Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas leader, becomes a Christian". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Mosab Hassan Yousef Biography". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Hamas leader disowns son - World news - Mideast/N. Africa - Israel-Palestinians | NBC News". MSNBC. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  5. ^ Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue ... - Mosab Hassan Yousef - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b Darcé, Keith (June 30, 2010). "'Son of Hamas' wins asylum fight". Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ Kaminski, Matthew (March 5, 2010). "They Need to Be Liberated From Their God'; The 'Son of Hamas' author on his conversion to Christianity, spying for Israel, and shaming his family.". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Son of Hamas". Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "An Israeli-Hamas Double Agent Speaks about Career in Intelligence". CNN. March 2, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  10. ^ "CNN.com". CNN. 
  11. ^ sonofhamas. "The Heart of the Matter | Son of Hamas". Sonofhamas.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  12. ^ Sherwell, Philip; Nick Allen (February 27, 2010). "'I saved Shimon Peres from plot' says son of Hamas founder". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  13. ^ Sherwell, Philip; Allen, Nick (February 27, 2010). "'I saved Shimon Peres from plot' says son of Hamas founder". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  14. ^ [1], Goodreads May 13, 2011
  15. ^ Harel, Amos (February 24, 2010). "When Palestinians keep Israelis safe". Haaretz. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Flower, Kevin (March 3, 2010). "Report: Hamas founder's son worked for Israel". CNN. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  17. ^ Leila, Hilary (2010-06-25). "Israel informant risks deportation". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  18. ^ sonofhamas. "Shin Bet "handler" confirms Son of Hamas account! | Son of Hamas". Sonofhamas.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  19. ^ Issacharoff, Avi (2010-02-24). "Haaretz exclusive: Hamas founder's son worked for Shin Bet for years - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  20. ^ Former Hamas man to ‘tell truth’ about Muhammad, Jerusalem Post June 21, 2012
  21. ^ [2], Hollywood Reporter December 4, 2013

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