It isn’t every day that a Hamas member turns his back on the terror organization, flies to Southeast Asia and decides to expose the corruption and inner workings of its operations in Turkey in an interview with an Israeli TV journalist.
It’s even more incredible when he’s the son of one of Hamas’s founding members. And it’s almost unthinkable when he’s the second of that founder’s sons to escape the clutches of the Islamist group and go public with his story.
Suheib Yousef, second son of one of Hamas’s founders caused an uproar in Palestinian society recently by speaking out against the militant Islamist movement he grew up in, calling it a “racist terror organization that is dangerous for the Palestinian people.”
“I was raised in Hamas, I worked for Hamas, but when I was exposed to corruption, I left. I cut off ties.”
In an interview with an Israeli news channel aired Wednesday night, Suheib Yousef, 38-year-old son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, told journalist Ohad Hemo of his disillusionment with the group’s rampant corruption and disappointment with leaders living opulent lifestyles abroad while the people in Gaza continue to suffer in abject poverty.
“Hamas leaders [in Turkey] live in fancy hotels and luxury towers, their kids learn at private schools, and they are very well paid by Hamas. They get between four and five thousand dollars a month, they have guards, swimming pools, country clubs,” said Suheib, who worked for Hamas’s political branch in Turkey.
“When I lived in Turkey, I was shocked by the behavior of the Hamas members. They ate in the best restaurants, in places where one course cost $200,” he said. “A family in Gaza lives on $100 per month.”
In hiding in an unnamed Asian country, Suheib also said Hamas was working for a “foreign agenda,” selling information about Israel to the Iranians in exchange for financial assistance. He said the group’s operation in Turkey was run under the guise of a civil society organization but was gathering intelligence on Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, as well as leaders from other Arab countries.
He also said the group actively recruited young Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out attacks against Israel, not to liberate Palestinian land or for resistance, but to spread the crisis from Gaza to the West Bank.
Suheib Yousef’s life had a clear path. As the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, he was raised to hate Israel and actively seek its destruction as a leading member of the Palestinian terror organization.
Today, Yousef receives death threats for abandoning Hamas and exposing its practices. He recently became the second son of Sheikh Yousef to flee the terror group and publicly condemn it as “a racist, terror organization.”
His brother, Mosab Hassan Yousef, also defected from Hamas in the late ’90s and secretly worked with Israel’s security services to expose and prevent several Hamas suicide attacks. He later gave his life to Christ and wrote a 2010 autobiography called “Son of Hamas”.
In Wednesday’s interview, Suheib was quick to distance himself from his brother’s actions, saying he never worked for Israel and never betrayed Hamas. He also said he hoped his father would respect his political views, just as he honored his father’s for 40 years.
“My main motivation is to help the Palestinian people by exposing the true face of Hamas,” he told journalist Hemo.
But Suheib faced a backlash, with hundreds criticizing his actions on social media and airing their continued support for his father.