Palestinians say report is Zionist propaganda
Yesterday's Haaretz report that the son of a senior Hamas official in the West Bank served for over a decade as the chief agent of Israel's Shin Bet security agency in the Hamas leadership has caused a storm in the Arab world.
Arab media and other media outlets overseas gave broad coverage to the report.
Various commentators and satellite television networks suggested that the Israeli government was behind the publication of the story of the Shin Bet agent, Mosab Hassan Yousef, in an effort to provide cover for alleged Israeli involvement in the assassination in Dubai of Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and to push the Mabhouh case out of the headlines.
Yousef's account is to be published in a memoir to be released in the United States next week.
Mosab Hassan Yousef's father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, released a statement yesterday from Israel's Ketziot prison, where he is incarcerated.
"Whether the things published in Haaretz are correct or not, Mosab was not even for one day a member of the Hamas movement, or any of its wings," he said.
The elder Yousef said since his son was 17, in 1996, he was subject to provocations and pressures from Israeli intelligence. Since then, the sheikh stated, members of the organization were warned to be cautious of him and the son was under the sheikh's supervision.
Sheikh Yousef said "all of the things stated in his story about his activity against Hamas and 'its fighters' are a crude lie that has not even one [grain of] truth."
He said he had only a familial, and not professional, relationship with his son.
The report about Yousef also served as fodder for the ongoing propaganda war between Hamas and Fatah. While the Fatah movement gave wide coverage to the Haaretz expose, Hamas tried to ignore the report until yesterday afternoon. When the Islamist organization did react, it chose to deny the allegations. Haaretz has learned, however, that senior Hamas officials have attempted to pressure Mosab Hassan Yousef to stop disclosing details of his story.
MK Gideon Ezra (Kadima), who is a former deputy chief of the Shin Bet, yesterday expressed serious doubt about the credibility of Mosab Hassan Yousef's account.
Ezra called Yousef's story "too good to be true," yesterday, adding that he was not at the Shin Bet during the period when the agency allegedly was working with Yousef.
"There is no such thing in the world that one person can carry out so many tasks. I read the report yesterday morning and was pleasantly surprised. If the things are true, it is a point of honor for Israeli intelligence."
Ezra said contrary to the impression that Mosab Yousef is attempting to convey, "there are hundreds of collaborators like him. He is not unusual. He just decided to write a book about it."