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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Interview: Mosab Hassan Yousef

The Wall Street Journal interviews Christian convert Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef. Here's a highlight.
As a spy, Mr. Yousef wasn't fully activated until the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000. A few months before at Camp David, the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat had turned down the Israeli offer of statehood on 90% of the West Bank with East Jerusalem as the capital. According to Mr. Yousef, Arafat decided he needed another uprising to win back international attention. So he sought out Hamas's support through Sheikh Yousef, writes his son, who accompanied him to Arafat's compound. Those meetings took place before the Palestinian authorities found a pretext for the second Intifada. It came when future Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Mr. Yousef's account helps to set straight the historical record that the uprising was premeditated by Arafat.

Mr. Yousef tells me that he was horrified by the pointless violence unleashed by politicians willing to climb "on the shoulders of poor, religious people." He says Palestinians who heeded the call "were going like a cow to the slaughterhouse, and they thought they were going to heaven." So, as he writes in the book, "At the age of twenty-two, I became the Shin Bet's only Hamas insider who could infiltrate Hamas's military and political wings, as well as other Palestinian factions."

Mr. Yousef claims some significant intelligence coups for himself, and he says he isn't telling the world everything. Early on, he was first to discover that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group born during the second Intifada, was made up of Arafat's guards, who were directly funded by international donors. He says he found the most lethal Palestinian bomb maker and foiled assassination plots against President Shimon Peres, then foreign minister, as well as a prominent rabbi. He says he broke up cells of suicide bombers about to attack Israel. And he helped convince his father to be the first prominent Hamas leader to offer a truce with Israel.

His handler—a "Captain Loai," now retired from the Shin Bet—corroborated many of these stories to Haaretz. The paper said the Shin Bet considered Mr. Yousef "the most reliable and most senior agent."

Mr. Yousef strains to justify himself, but ultimately "the question is whether I was a traitor or a hero in my own eyes."

So we're back to why?

The motivation, he says, was to save lives.
And here's a key conclusion:
As the son of a Muslim cleric, he says he had reached the conclusion that terrorism can't be defeated without a new understanding of Islam. Here he echoes other defectors from Islam such as the former Dutch parliamentarian and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Do you consider your father a fanatic? "He's not a fanatic," says Mr. Yousef. "He's a very moderate, logical person. What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he's doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn't matter if he's a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God. I know this is harsh to say. Most governments avoid this subject. They don't want to admit this is an ideological war.

"The problem is not in Muslims," he continues. "The problem is with their God. They need to be liberated from their God. He is their biggest enemy. It has been 1,400 years they have been lied to."
Read the whole thing. I'd love to get a copy of the book.

4 Comments:

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The conclusion is similar to his earlier Fox interview, if you posted it.

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger Orde said...

So far I have read the ending and the first 88 pages of the beginning & it's on its way to being one of the most valuable books I've ever read, well-written too.

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger rlevitin said...

It's written in very simple terms, and follows his own understanding of the situation as it evolves. (Starts out with the "Israeli enemy" but slowly he realizes how much worse Hamas and various other Pal leaders really are, and his Shin Bet handlers become his best friends)

Excellent book.

 
At 12:16 AM, Blogger turkeyfether said...

God Bless him and keep him safe! I have just finished reading the book,"Son of Hamas".Excellant!! Excellant!! He is right, the ONLY answer for peace in the mideast is the Lord Jesus Christ.(and I don't mean some political religious power hungry machine).

 

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