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Israel’s Hamas Informant Was Founder’s Son

And he now has choice words for daddy’s group

Marc Tracy
February 24, 2010
Mosab Hassan Yousef(Haaretz)
Mosab Hassan Yousef(Haaretz)

If the story of the Mahmoud al-Mahbouh assassination leaves you wanting more cloak-and-dagger spy stuff, Haaretz broke a much-buzzed-about story today revealing that the Israeli security service’s best informant within Hamas during the early-2000s Second Intifada was the son of one of Hamas’s founders and top officials.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, left the West Bank a few years ago and now lives in California as a Christian. But several years before, he was known in Shin Bet as “The Green Prince”; information he gave them led to the arrests of a number of powerful Palestinian military leaders, including notorious terrorist Marwan Barghouti. (Yousef is only 32 now; that would have made him only 18 when he was first held by Shin Bet and began to cooperate.)

Yousef’s zeal of the converted extends beyond his religion, as he tells Haaretz:

Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. 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. … They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does.

Hamas and the Yousef family, which resides in Ramallah (interestingly, not in Hamas-controlled Gaza), have returned the compliment, claiming the story is incorrect and libelous.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.