JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (BosNewsLife) — The son of a founder of the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, who became a Christian and spied for Israel, will be granted political asylum in the United States as the Department of Homeland Security dropped its objections, BosNewsLife learned late Wednesday, June 30.
Judge Rico Bartolemei ruled that Masab Hassan Yousef, 32, will be granted political asylum August 26 after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check. His attorney, Steven Seick welcomed the decision.
“For 10 years, he fought terrorism in secret, hiding what he was doing and who he was. He deserves a safe place away from violence and fear,” he said. There was no immediate reaction from Israel.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, the eldest son of Hamas founder Hassan Yousef, was recruited by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, in 1997. Israeli agents have been quoted as saying that his information prevented multiple terrorist attacks.
Gonen ben Itzhak, Yousef’s former Shin Bet handler, confirmed his identity last week in a bid to bring attention to Yousef’s plight. He travelled to the hearing from Israel, however no witnesses were called to testify because the U.S. government dropped its opposition.
“Basically, I wanted to say that Mosab was not a terrorist,” he told reporters after Wednesday’s proceedings. “He was not affiliated with Hamas. He’s a great guy and he should get asylum.”
Former CIA Director James Woolsey wrote in a letter released by Yousef’s attorney that Yousef is, “a remarkable young man” who should be commended for his “extraordinary heroism and courage.” Woolsey added that “It is not an exaggeration to say that such an action would set us back years in the war on terrorism,” and that it would be “such an inhumane act” if he were not granted asylum that “it would constitute a blight on American history.”
Yousef has been living in California since 2007.
If Yousef, had not been granted asylum he would likely have been killed if he was deported back to Palestinian territories, his supporters said, because he prevented terror atacks and abandoned Islam while working with Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency.
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (BosNewsLife) -– Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a prominent Hamas leader who became a Christian, is facing a deportation hearing on June 30 in San Diego because the U.S. Department of Homeland Security views him as “a threat to America’s national security”, BosNewsLife learned Monday, June 14.
Yousef, 32, authored the globally circulated book “Son of Hamas” in which he recalls how he embraced Christianity and how he worked as a secret agent for the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet for over a decade to halt “terrorist attacks throughout Israel.” Israeli officials have not commented on the case.
The book was published this year, which resulted in television appearances on several American network shows, including CNN’s ‘Amanpour’, NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and Fox News’ ‘Hannity’.
Yousef sought political asylum in the U.S., but was reportedly told in February last year that he was “barred from a grant of asylum because there were reasonable grounds” for believing he was “a danger to the security of the United States” as he “engaged in terrorist activity.”
POSING AS TERRORIST
On his Website Yousef admitted that while working for Israeli intelligence he “posed as a terrorist”, but stressed his actions had saved American lives.
“Yes, I carried a gun. Yes, I was in terrorist meetings with [Palestinian leader] Yassir Arafat, my father and other Hamas leaders. It was part of my job. And I passed on to the Shin Bet all the information I gathered during those meetings and saved the lives of many people — including many Americans,” he wrote.
“My concern is not about being deported [but] that I am forced to stand and defend myself as a terrorist! This is ridiculous,” Yousef added.
He said he would continue to fight deportation. “If [the judge] rules to deport me, I will appeal. And Homeland Security has assured me that, if he rules in my favor, they will appeal. And this insane merry-go-round can go on like that for decades.”
NOT UNDERSTANDING DANGERS
Yousef said Homeland Security does not understands the dangers awaiting him after his deportation. “Exposing terrorist secrets and warning the world in my first book cost me everything. I am a traitor to my people, disowned by my family, a man without a country. And now the country I came to for sanctuary is turning its back.”
He said Homeland Security has “absolutely no idea of the dangers that lie ahead.” For nearly 30 years, he said, he watched from The inside as Hamas “dug its claws deeper and deeper into Israel. They started awkwardly, clumsily, but they got good at it. And al-Qaeda is becoming more like Hamas.”
Yousef explained that he is not asking for a job or a salary, but that he wants to help America better understand the apparent terrorist threats.
AMERICA “NOT READY”
“This country is not ready. Try to imagine attacks by suicide bombers and car bombers, attacks on schools, in shopping malls, in the gridlock of rush-hour traffic, week after week, month after month, year after year, here and there, in big cities and rural towns,” he wrote.
“I was born and raised in this kind of [terrorism] environment. More than that, I was on the inside of both sides. I am not asking Homeland Security or anybody else for a job or a salary. I am asking them to be humble and listen, so they can learn,” Yousef said.
US officials were not immediately available for comment, but there were no indications that the deportation hearing had been halted.
Yousef urged supporters to write letters to: Kerri Calcador, Senior Attorney U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement 880 Front St. Suite 224, San Diego, CA 92101. The phone number is 619-557-5578.