When a Hardline Muslim Hamas Man Turns into a Christian-Israeli Spy

Mar 03, 2010
*Special to asia!

The dramatic account of how a top Hamas insider's conscience and faith causes him to embrace Israel hits the shelves today. Yes, it is quite a stunning story in the conflict where the two sides seem irreconcilable, but let's check the nuances the printers may have left out.

“Send regards to Israel, I miss it. I respect Israel and admire it as a country.”

This is not a Jew speaking. It is a Palestinian, the firstborn son of a top minister from the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas. (“Hamas' Christian convert: I've left a society that sanctifies terror” Haaretz, 31/07/2008)

The speaker was Mosab Hassan Yousef. Last Friday, he gave an exclusive interview to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (“Israel's man in Hamas just 'wanted to save lives'” Haaretz Friday Magazine, 26/02/2010), hot on the heels of the stunning alleged assassination by the Israelis of the top Hamas man in Dubai the weeks before. 

In the story, Yousef admitted he had been spying for Israel and denounced what he considered the Palestinian culture of suicide attacks.

It wasn't quite what you would expect from a Hamas man, much less someone brought up in the organisation of which his father Sheikh Hassan Yousef is a respected leader.

But Yousef is not just another ordinary Palestinian, trapped in the besieged Gaza Strip, fighting an unceasing war against Israel. He is a former Israeli prisoner who found God in jail, and is now a Christian convert living in the United States.

Expectedly, the story is causing quite a stir, perfectly timed for today's release of Yousef's book “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices”. Pre-orders have already propelled the book to the number one spot in various nonfiction rankings on the internet bookstore amazon.com.

According to the inside book jacket,

Yousef “saw things no one should ever see: abject poverty, abuse of power, torture, and death.” He was “trusted at the highest levels of Hamas”, though latest reports say his father has now disowned him, following the interview. (“Senior Hamas leader disowns son who spied for Israel”, Haaretz, 02/03/2010)

He was painted as a witness to “behind-the-scenes dealings of top Middle Eastern leaders who make headlines around the world”, and was “held captive deep inside Israel's most feared prison facility.”

A bit of digging in America's most watched name in news, FOX News - a network accused often of conservative Republican bias - produced this sensationalistically-named “Escape from Hamas”.


dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

Contact Dan-Chyi