The news about this 32-year-old recent addition to California's population first broke on Israeli newspaper Haaretz- the writer, Avi Issacharoff, was given exclusive access to the now, we have to assume, on-the-lam Yousef. The story almost immediately bloomed into an international intrigue story. The same day as the Haaretz article came out, February 24, BBC picked up the story, adding some tidbits of their own. For example, the reaction from Hamas:
Earlier, senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan condemned Haaretz's report as "baseless slander" aimed at the elder Yousef.Yousef became known over a year ago for outing himself as a converted Christian, and now he is outing himself again- this time as a spy for Israel- in a new book to be released soon, called Son of Hamas.
"The Palestinian people have great confidence in Hamas and its struggle and they will not be fooled by this slander and these lies of the Israeli occupation," he told AFP news agency.
Some interesting tidbits from the Haaretz article:
Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname "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.Especially touching were his statements about Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier still held in Gaza.
During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel's plan to assassinate his father.
"I wish I were in Gaza now," Yousef said by phone from California, "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done."Yousef's former Shabak handler expressed his admiration for him.
Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money," he says. "He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours - the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts."He also says Hamas is a greater threat to the Palestinian people than Israel is.
I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does."Lastly, check out this video which I am unfortunately unable to embed. It's an interview with Yousef on BBC Arabic where he talks about how Muhammad is a false prophet and Islam is a fundamentally flawed religion.