Following interviews on Monday and last Thursday on Fox News, CNN’s The Lead followed suit Monday with Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of the founder of the Islamic terror group Hamas and who not only rebuked the group, but spent a decade undercover for Israeli intelligence.
Given his harrowing background, he held nothing back in ripping Hamas as “strict” “fanatics” hellbent on “annihilat[ing] the Jewish people and the Jewish state” in order to create a global Islamic state.
Host Jake Tapper began by asking what he saw in Hamas that made him turn against them at a young age. Yousef said he had “always complained” “since I was a child....about Hamas’s abuse of power and their brutality.”
“You know, they’re very strict and they’re very religious. They’re fanatics and — but I did not think at some point, you know, they would cause all this global trouble. You know, they — they are, we saw their brutality,” he added.
Turning to October 7 and whether he saw it coming, Yousef replied the only thing he was surprised about was “the scale of the attack” given “their brutality”. Back in the mid-90s, he saw Hamas murder and torture “so many people,” including things like “put[ting] needles under people’s fingernails.”
Yousef told Tapper that while it was obviously a massive intelligence “failure,” but emphasized “this is not the time to blame anybody” and demanded the U.S. “give Israel the necessary cover to uproot Hamas.”
He then powerfully framed the stakes of this war as Israel is “fighting on behalf of America...the Palestinian people,” and “on behalf of the free world” in a war that “Hamas started”.
“[Hamas] start[s] a war every few years whenever they want money. You know, they shed children’s blood. This is their game and this has to stop. This has to come to an end and, unfortunately, the price is not going to be cheap,” he added.
Framing this likely ground invasion to a heavily booby-trapped and tunnel-laden Gaza as “the most complicated mission a modern army has” undertaken, he even suggested the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) receive assistance from the Navy SEALS.
Tapper broadened out to question “what motivates” Hamas to commit such barbarity, “what are the leaders like,” and “what do they want.”
Yousef said “everybody’s afraid to say” the truth, which is that Hamas is “a religious movement that does not believe in political borders” given “they want to establish an Islamic state on the rubble of the state of Israel,” “annihilate the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” and “kill everybody who supports Israel, then establish an Islamic state” on a global scale.
In turn, he explained, they’re not a political organization who thus can be bargained with.
“[W]e cannot give Hamas what they want. We cannot give them what they are asking for, whatever it takes. You know, in war, people die. And we need to prepare public. You know, I say that this is an ugly war. Israel did not start it, but Israel will end it,” he explained.
Tapper closed with the questions surround whether Gazans should receive aid. Yousef called out this thinking given Hamas’s penchant for having international aid for Palestinians be used for odious aims (click “expand”):
TAPPER: So the United States insists that the aid being provided for civilians in Gaza will not go to Hamas. Do you believe that the aid will not go to Hamas? Do you believe that the aid will only go to the innocent Palestinians?
YOUSEF: You know, the United States and Europe have been very generous with the Palestinian people. But their leadership steal the money all the time. They steal the aid. So much aid came into Gaza. Hamas used all that aid to build tunnels under the ground. And now look at the chaos they are creating. Aid is great, but not right now. I suggest that we open the border for the Palestinian innocent people including women children and elders to leave the Gaza Strip or to go into a safe zone. In the meantime, we have to enforce unbreachable siege on Hamas. Otherwise, we are not able to deplete them. They are under the ground. They have hostages. We have to cut power. We cannot give them food. We cannot give them water and we have to deplete them for long weeks before we can even go in, you know, Otherwise, we cannot win this war against this brutal enemy, enemy of humanity.
To see the relevant CNN transcript from October 23, click here.