Mosab Hassan Yousef was born in Ramallah, became a spy for Israel in 1997 and now lives in the United States. He has been critical of Hamas for years and says a cease-fire now would only strengthen the group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.
“Democracies cannot negotiate with terrorists,” Yousef said Thursday on “CUOMO.”
Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the co-founders of Hamas. The younger Yousef spent time in Israeli prisons several times and told The New York Post in 2021 that he saw a light after a stint in jail with some of his father’s comrades in the mid-1990s. He said he witnessed Hamas inmates brutally beat collaborators with Israel.
Now, he says Hamas is responsible for worsening Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“Hamas is a great enemy of humanity, not only Israel,” Yousef said.
He faulted the United States and Israel for failing to act on Hamas sooner, citing cease-fires in previous wars that he argues gave Hamas more power.
“Hamas leaders have the freedom to travel the world, roaming the entire region, traveling to Moscow, Doha, Istanbul, Beirut, all over the place, while the Gazans were imprisoned in a blockage,” he said. “United States, Israel and other allies of the United States in the region, we gave Hamas freedom and we imprisoned the people. Instead, we need to give the people freedom back and target Hamas wherever they are.”
A month into the war that began Oct. 7 with a Hamas incursion into Israel, the Israel Defense Forces have reached the heart of Gaza City and are entering and blowing up Hamas-built tunnels.
Hamas is believed to have a massive underground network throughout Gaza, allowing it to transport weapons, supplies and fighters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rebuffed calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, but Israel on Thursday agreed to four-hour daily pauses in fighting to allow civilians to evacuate.
Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s decision-making War Cabinet, acknowledged Wednesday that Israel does not yet have a vision for the Gaza Strip should it succeed in destroying Hamas rule, but said it will include an Israeli security presence in the territory after the war.
As a former member of Hamas who knows the group’s mindset, Yousef believes the militants won’t be satisfied with a peace or political deal that allows Israelis and Palestinians to co-exist.
“They’re not only terrorists, they’re savages. They have the mentality of sixth and seventh century Arabia, and they’re motivated by religious dogma to annihilate the state of Israel as a condition to build an Islamic State,” Yousef said. “If Hamas was a political party, then we can apply pressure on them and bring them to the negotiating table to compromise, but Hamas is a religious movement that is waging a holy war against the Jewish people. … We cannot afford what they want.”
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Author: Tyler Wornell