"Green Prince" should have been granted asylum sooner

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Better late than never, but the Department of Homeland Security has some measure of explaining to do with regard to double agent Mosab Hassan Yousef. DHS officials finally announced Wednesday they would no longer seek to block the political asylum request of the “Green Prince,” the oldest son of Hamas terrorist Sheikh Hassan Yousef and an important, life-saving secret agent for the Israeli security agency Shin Bet. 

Apparently oblivious to the irony, DHS officials had for the past 16 months been hedging on the matter of allowing Mr. Yousef to stay in the Unted States, where he has resided for the past three years, on the grounds that he has ties to terrorist organizations. But the 32-year-old San Diego resident, whose father disowned him in March for his undercover aid to Israel, became dissilusioned with Hamas more than a decade ago and had been supplying vital information about Hamas plans and operations to Israel practically ever since.

The aid of Mr. Yousef, who converted to Christianity around the time he began spying for Israel, has helped the Jewish state prevent the assassinations of President Shimon Peres and religious leader Ovadia Yosef. Mr. Yousef also identified for the Shin Bet the perpetrators of the 2002 Hebrew University cafeteria bombing, in which nine people were killed.

It is precisely because  of his (former) terrorist ties that Mr. Yousef was such an asset to the Israelis - and, by extension, all democracies that seek to root out terror. Mr. Yousef has rightly said that if he is sent back to Ramallah or deported to any Arab country he will be murdered for his cooperation with Israel.

For the DHS to have waffled so long on whether to grant political asylum to the very type of individual for whom the principle exists is nothing short of shameful, not to mention counter-productive at a time when the United States is in the throes of its self-proclaimed “War on Terror.” After all, what sort of incentive to renounce terrorism and help promote democratic values does any so-called “extremist” have if atonement doesn’t matter?

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Anath Hartmann

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