Moral conscience an antidote to hate

Can moral conscience overcome a hate-filled legacy imbued from childhood? The case of Mosab Hassan Yousef proves that it can.

Born May 5, 1978, to a Palestinian family in Samaria, Yousef, the oldest of five brothers and three sisters, wanted to be a fighter because that was expected of Palestinian children in his environment. He was first arrested when he was ten, during the first intifada (Palestinian uprising), for throwing rocks at Israeli settlers. He was further arrested and jailed by Israel numerous times.

As the eldest son of his father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a leader of Hamas, he was seen as his heir apparent and became an important part of the organization. Hamas is designated by many countries as a terrorist organization that rules over Gaza and also has influence in Samaria and Judea,

Yousef’s doubts about Islam and Hamas began forming when he realized Hamas’ brutality. He hated how Hamas used the lives of suffering civilians and children to achieve its goals. While Yousef was held in 1996 by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, he decided to accept their offer to become an informant – a Palestinian who worked undercover. It was a task he fulfilled until 2007, providing such invaluable information that the Shin Bet considered him its most valuable source within the leadership of the Hamas. The information he supplied prevented dozens of suicide attacks and led to many arrests of terrorists (including his own father).

The Shin Bet nicknamed him 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. 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.

Yousef says he supplied intelligence that enabled the detention of several key Palestinian leaders, and that he thwarted a 2001 plot to assassinate Shimon Peres, then foreign minister and later President of Israel. According to his former Shin Bet officer, “Many people owe him their lives and don’t even know it”.

In 1999, Yousef converted to Christianity, and in 2007 moved to the United States, where he was granted political asylum. In August 2008, Yousef publicly revealed his Christianity and renounced Hamas and the Arab leadership, thereby endangering himself and exposing his family in Samaria to persecution.

The co-author of an autobiography, Son of Hamas, Yousef has stated, “We cannot fool ourselves, there is an Islamic problem,” as he went  on to mention various radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram and Islamic State.“All of them are killing in the name of Allah,” he said, adding that other religions do not act in such ways. “There is an Islamic problem and I think humanity needs to stand against this danger.”
Yousef has claimed that his aim has been to bring peace to the Middle East. Although his connection to his family has been severed; he hopes one day to return to his homeland when there is peace.