Ahead of the publication of a story in its Sunday magazine, Haaretz reported today that the son of a “leading Hamas figureÂ who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service’s most valuable source in the militant organization’s leadership.”
The story specifies thatÂ Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of the group’s leaders in the West Bank, supplied Israeli authorities with intelligence on terrorist cells.
“The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures,” according to Haaretz.
Yousef’s memoir, Son of Hamas, written with Ron Brackin, will be released in the United States next week.
The story in Haaretz notes that Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago. He now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007, and going public with his conversion.
Here’s an excerpt from the newspaper story:
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.
“I wish I were in Gaza now,” Yousef said by phone from California, “I would put on an army uniform and join Israel’s special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. 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.”
The story of Yousef’s spiritual transformation appeared in Haaretz Magazine in August 2008. Only now, however, is Yousef exposing the secret he kept since 1996, when he was first held by Shin Bet agents seeking to enlist him in infiltrating the upper echelon of Hamas.
Their efforts proved successful, and Yousef was released from prison in 1997. His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.
“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said the handler, named in Yousef’s book as Captain Loai. “People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it.”
Yousef is downbeat over the prospects of any peace deal brokered between Israel and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, never mind Hamas.
“Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis,” says Yousef. “That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis.”