The Gaza-based Hamas terror group has launched an expansive effort to counter an Israeli television news interview with the son of one of the terror group’s founding fathers in which he accused the organization of being corrupt, power-hungry, racist and bad for the Palestinians, Channel 12 news reported Thursday, a day after it broadcast the interview.
The “public show of unity” reportedly includes rallies, a media blitz and a wide-reaching social media campaign aimed at discrediting both the claimant and his critique that Hamas is not truly concerned with the welfare of the Palestinian people.
The Fatah political party, rival to Hamas, also joined in the efforts aimed at discrediting the report, despite the interview revealing how Hamas was eavesdropping on leaders in the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority from listening stations in Turkey.
Suheib Yousef — the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, and the brother of Mosab Yousef, who became known as the “Son of Hamas” and the “Green Prince” for his efforts to help the Shin Bet thwart terror attacks — recently secretly left his post in Turkey where he was a Hamas operative and flew to an unnamed country in Asia.
He then got in touch with the Palestinian affairs correspondent for Israel’s Channel 12, Ohad Hemo, to tell his story. Yousef told the station of his disillusionment with Hamas, of its spying on the Ramallah government, how it is striving to export the crisis in the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, and how senior Hamas officials spend hundreds of dollars on expensive meals for themselves in Turkey.
According to Channel 12, Palestinians in the street have described the interview as “an earthquake.”
Hamas, an Islamist terror group which seeks to destroy Israel, has dismissed the report, telling the Palestinian public that it is a “Zionist plot” to discredit the organization, the station reported.
Containment efforts began even before the full interview was transmitted. After a promotion for the interview was aired Wednesday, Hamas organized a demonstration outside Sheikh Hassan Yousef’s home in the West Bank village of Beitunia where dozens gathered to declare their support for him. Fatah members also attended.
On social media, Hamas urged support for the elder Yousef under the banner, “We are all your sons,” and Qassam Barghouti, son of Marwan Barghouti, a senior Palestinian leader imprisoned in Israel for organizing deadly terror attacks, tweeted at Yousef recalling that both Fatah and Hamas share their fight against Israel. A video clip shared on social media showed masked Hamas fighters unfurling a banner with the sheikh’s image on it.
In addition, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh called Yousef’s wife and told her the organization still stands with him.
Hassan Yousef, a co-founder of Hamas in the West Bank, has spent nearly a third of his life in Israeli jails.
During the interview, Suheib Yousef said his main motivation was to help the Palestinian people by exposing the true face of Hamas.
“The problem in Gaza is that Hamas hangs on to power by force. If Hamas gave up power, there would be no problems,” he said and accused the group’s corrupt leaders of using the people of Gaza as cannon fodder for their ambitions.
“How does Hamas benefit from these attacks? Nothing,” he said. “It is a racist terror organization that is dangerous for the Palestinian people.”
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and several attempts since then at reconciliation between the two rivals have failed.