By George Whitten, Worthy News Jerusalem Bureau Chief
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News) -- The son of a founder of the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, who became a Christian and spied for Israel, will be granted political asylum in the United States as the Department of Homeland Security dropped its objections, Worthy News learned late Wednesday, June 30.
Judge Rico Bartolemei ruled that Masab Hassan Yousef, 32, will be granted political asylum August 26 after he is fingerprinted and passes a routine background check. His attorney, Steven Seick welcomed the decision.
"For 10 years, he fought terrorism in secret, hiding what he was doing and who he was. He deserves a safe place away from violence and fear," he said. There was no immediate reaction from Israel.
Masab Hassan Yousef, the eldest son of Hamas founder Hassan Yousef, was recruited by Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, in 1997. Israeli agents have been quoted as saying that his information prevented multiple terrorist attacks.
Gonen ben Itzhak, Yousef's former Shin Bet handler, confirmed his identity last week in a bid to bring attention to Yousef's plight. He travelled to the hearing from Israel, however no witnesses were called to testify because the U.S. government dropped its opposition.
"Basically, I wanted to say that Mosab was not a terrorist," he told reporters after Wednesday's proceedings. "He was not affiliated with Hamas. He's a great guy and he should get asylum."
Former CIA Director James Woolsey wrote in a letter released by Yousef's attorney that Yousef is, "a remarkable young man" who should be commended for his "extraordinary heroism and courage." Woolsey added that "It is not an exaggeration to say that such an action would set us back years in the war on terrorism,” and that it would be "such an inhumane act" if he were not granted asylum that "it would constitute a blight on American history."
Yousef has been living in California since 2007.
If Yousef, had not been granted asylum he would likely have been killed if he was deported back to Palestinian territories, his supporters said, because he prevented terror attacks and abandoned Islam while working with Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency.