Son of Hamas : a gripping account of terror, betrayal, political intrigue, and unthinkable choices / Mosab Hassan Yousef, with Ron Brackin.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-1-4143-3307-6 (hc)
1. Yousef, Mosab Hassan. 2. Christian converts from Islam—Israel—Biography. I. Brackin, Ron.
ISBN 978-1-4143-3668-8 (International Trade Paper Edition)
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No one has ever had this information before. In fact, the record of history is already filled with numerous inaccuracies about the day that Hamas was born as an organization. For example, Wikipedia inaccurately claims that “Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada….” This entry is accurate regarding only two of the seven founders, and it is off by a year. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas (accessed November 20, 2009).
MidEastWeb says, “Hamas was formed about February 1988 to allow participation of the brotherhood in the first Intifada. The founding leaders of Hamas were: Ahmad Yassin, ‘Abd al-Fattah Dukhan, Muhammed Shama’, Ibrahim al-Yazuri, Issa al-Najjar, Salah Shehadeh (from Bayt Hanun) and ‘Abd al-Aziz Rantisi. Dr. Mahmud Zahar is also usually listed as one of the original leaders. Other leaders include: Sheikh Khalil Qawqa, Isa al-Ashar, Musa Abu Marzuq, Ibrahim Ghusha, Khalid Mish’al.” This is even less accurate than the Wikipedia entry. See http://www.mideastweb.org/hamashistory.htm (accessed November 20, 2009).
The PLO’s first high-profile plane hijacking had occurred on July 23, 1968, when PFLP activists diverted an El Al Boeing 707 to Algiers. About a dozen Israeli passengers and ten crew members were held as hostages. There were no fatalities. But eleven Israeli athletes were killed four years later in a PLO-led terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. And on March 11, 1978, Fatah fighters landed a boat north of Tel Aviv, hijacked a bus, and began an attack along the Coastal Highway that killed about thirty-five people—and wounded over seventy others.
The organization had had an easy time recruiting from among the Palestinian refugees who made up two-thirds of Jordan’s population. With money flooding in from other Arab countries in support of the cause, the PLO became stronger and better-armed than even the police and the Jordanian army. And it wasn’t long before its leader, Yasser Arafat, was in striking distance of taking over the country and establishing a Palestinian state. King Hussein of Jordan had to act quickly and decisively or lose his country. Years later, I would be amazed to learn through an unforeseeable relationship with the Israeli security service that Jordan’s monarch had entered into a secret alliance with Israel at this time—even as every other Arab country was committed to its destruction. It was the logical thing to do, of course, because King Hussein was unable to protect his throne and Israel was unable to effectively patrol the long border between their two countries. But it would have been political and cultural suicide for the king had this information ever leaked out.
So in 1970, before the PLO could grasp any more control, King Hussein ordered its leaders and fighters out of the country. When they refused, he drove them out—with the aid of weapons provided by Israel—in a military campaign that came to be known among Palestinians as Black September. Time magazine quoted Arafat as telling sympathetic Arab leaders, “A massacre has been committed. Thousands of people are under debris. Bodies have rotted. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless. Our dead are scattered in the streets. Hunger and thirst are killing our remaining children, women and old men” (“The Battle Ends; The War Begins,” Time, October 5, 1970).
King Hussein owed a great debt to Israel, which he would try to repay in 1973 by warning Jerusalem that an Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria was about to invade. Unfortunately, Israel did not take the warning seriously. The invasion came on Yom Kippur, and an unprepared Israel suffered heavy and unnecessary losses. This secret, too, I would learn one day from the Israelis.
Following Black September, PLO survivors fled to southern Lebanon, which was still reeling from a deadly civil war. Here the organization initiated a new power grab, growing and gaining strength until it virtually became a state within a state. From its new base of operations, the PLO waged a war of attrition against Israel. Beirut was too weak to stop the endless shelling and missile attacks against Israel’s northern communities. And in 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, driving out the PLO in a four-month campaign. Arafat and a thousand surviving fighters went into exile in Tunisia. But even from that distance, the PLO continued to launch attacks on Israel and amass an army of fighters in the West Bank and Gaza.
“Arafat’s Return: Unity Is ‘the Shield of Our People,’” New York Times, July 2, 1994, http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/02/world/arafat-in-gaza-arafat-s-return-unity-is-the-shield-of-our-people.html (accessed November 23, 2009).
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (September 1993)”; The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Jerusalem, “Palestine Facts—Palestine Chronology 2000, http://www.passia.org/palestine_facts/chronology/2000.html. See also http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2000/11/Palestinian%20Terrorism-%20Photos%20-%20November%202000.
Further confirmation of this connection would come the following year when Israel invaded Ramallah and raided Arafat’s headquarters. Among other documents, they would discover an invoice, dated September 16, 2001, from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to Brigadier General Fouad Shoubaki, the PA’s CFO for military operations. It requested reimbursement for explosives used in bombings in Israeli cities and asked for money to build more bombs and to cover the cost of propaganda posters promoting suicide bombers. Yael Shahar, “Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades—A Political Tool with an Edge,” April 3, 2002, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC Herzliya.
Leonard Cole, Terror: How Israel Has Coped and What America Can Learn (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), 8.
“Obituary: Rehavam Zeevi,” BBC News, October 17, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1603857.stm (accessed November 24, 2009).
“Annan Criticizes Israel, Palestinians for Targeting Civilians,” U.N. Wire, March 12, 2002, http://www.unwire.org/unwire/20020312/24582_story.asp (accessed October 23, 2009).
European Union, “Declaration of Barcelona on the Middle East,” March 16, 2002, http://europa.eu/bulletin/en/200203/i1055.htm.
An interesting sidenote about Colonel Jibril Rajoub: “This man had taken advantage of his position as protective security chief in the West Bank to build his own little kingdom, making his officers bow and scrape as though he was heir to a throne. I have seen his breakfast table groan under the weight of fifty different dishes, prepared just to show everyone how important he was. I have also seen that Rajoub was rude and careless and that he behaved more like a gangster than a leader. When Arafat rounded up as many Hamas leaders and members as he could back in 1995, Rajoub tortured them without mercy. Several times, Hamas had threatened to assassinate him, prompting him to buy a bulletproof, explosion-proof car. Even Arafat didn’t have anything like it.”
Associated Press, “Palestinian Bombmaker Gets 67 Life Terms,” MSNBC, November 30, 2004, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6625081/.
Danny Rubinstein, “Hamas Leader: You Can’t Get Rid of Us,” Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=565084&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0.
“Israel Vows to ‘Crush’ Hamas after Attack,” Fox News, September 25, 2005, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170304,00.html (accessed October 5, 2009).