Mosab Hassan Yousef, eldest son of jailed Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was informed Wednesday that the United States would accept his asylum request, and that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would not object. The announcement comes after a 16-month battle for asylum which began when Yousef's request was denied. The Department of Homeland Security had accused Yousef of being a former terrorist and a threat to the United States. Yousef argued that he would be hunted and killed if he were deported to any Arab country, due to his cooperation with Israel.
Yousef will be allowed to remain in the United States following a routine background check and fingerprinting. His father disowned him in March, leaving him open to the probability of being assassinated if he attempted to return to the Middle East.
For 10 years, Yousef served as an informant to Israel's Shin Bet security services. During that time, he posed as a terrorist in order to gain inside information into the plans and operations of Hamas, information which he passed on to Israel.
Dubbed 'the Green Prince' by the Shin Bet because of his father's high status in Hamas – which claims green as its principal color – he grew up hating Israel and revering Hamas, according to his autobiography, Son of Hamas. When he was arrested by Israeli security services for purchasing guns, his exposure to Hamas's brutalities in prison disillusioned him, prompting him to ultimately abandon Islam in favor of Christianity. He began working against Hamas with Israeli agents.
One of Yousef's Israeli handlers – Gonen Ben-Yitzchak – broke his cover in order to travel to the United States testify on behalf of Yousef at his immigration hearing. Ben-Yitzchak, who had left the service four years earlier, also attended an awards ceremony at which he spoke on behalf of Yousef, telling participants that his actions had saved hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian Authority Arab lives.
Among others, Yousef provided information which led to the prevention of the assassinations of President Shimon Peres and Sephardic spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He also identified the terrorist bombers of the Hebrew University cafeteria in 2002.