Hassan Yousef (Hamas leader)

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Hassan Yousef
Co-founder and Leader of Hamas in the West Bank
Personal details
Born1955 (age 68–69)
Ramallah, Jordanian West Bank
Political partyHamas
SpouseSabba Abu Salem
Children9 (including Mosab Hassan Yousef)
OccupationHamas co-founder

Hassan Yousef (born 1955) is a co-founder of Hamas, an Islamist organization primarily active in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He currently serves as one of their leaders in the West Bank.

He is considered a member of Hamas' extremist faction and refrains from any talk of rapprochement between Israelis and Palestinians.[1] He is also considered one of the spiritual leaders of Hamas.[2]

Yousef is married to Sabba Abu Salem. They have six sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Mosab Hassan Yousef, worked undercover with Shin Bet from 1997 to 2007 to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians, as he considered such attacks immoral and destructive to the Palestinian cause. He was disowned by his father but is considered a hero by many Americans as well as Israelis.[3][4]

On 2 July 2019, Hassan's youngest son Suheib Hassan Yousef appeared in an interview with Israeli television criticizing Hamas and describing it as a corrupt terrorist organization which sparked huge anger from members of Hamas describing him as a traitor and a collaborator and other Hamas-affiliated networks said that he was working with the Mossad which he completely denied.[5]

Politics and arrests

Yousef has been arrested by the Israeli authorities several times, starting from 1993. He became the visible leader of the Second Intifada. According to the Palestinian Information Center, Yousef has spent over 23 years in Israeli prisons.

While in jail in 2005, Yousef was nominated to represent Hamas during the elections. This was against his will, as he did not think that Hamas should become a political party. He was initially unwilling to accept the nomination, but eventually agreed, when he found out that his eldest son had received death threats.[6]

On October 19, 2015, during the ongoing Palestinian unrest, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raided Yousef's home in Beitunia in the West Bank and arrested him, accusing him of inciting violence.[7] He was released on August 31, 2017.[8] A few months later, in December he was again arrested by Israeli authorities and held until October 2018.[9] Each time he was held in Administrative detention, meaning incarceration without trial or charge. On 3 October 2020, he was arrested again.[10] On 19 October 2023, he was arrested again as part of Israel's wider crackdown on Hamas following the Hamas invasion of 7 October.[11]


  1. ^ Avi Issacharoff, Haarez News, 21 June 2006
  2. ^ Caridi, Paola (2012). Hamas: From Resistance to Government. Seven Stories Press. p. 362. ISBN 978-1-60980-382-7.
  3. ^ Elsworth, Catherine; Carolynne Wheeler (August 24, 2008). "Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas leader, becomes a Christian". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Mosab Hassan Yousef (2010). Son of Hamas.
  5. ^ Eglash, Ruth (2019-07-08). "Son of Hamas leader calls the militant movement a 'racist terror organization'". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-10-20.
  6. ^ Yousef, Mosab Hassan, and Ron Brackin, Son of Hamas. SaltRiver, 2010. ISBN 9781414333076 p235
  7. ^ "WATCH: IDF troops arrest Hamas co-founder Hassan Yousef before dawn". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. 20 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Hassan Yousef". Addameer. January 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Israel renews administrative detention of Palestinian MP, Hassan Yousef". Middle East Monitor. June 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Israeli army arrests senior Hamas leader in West Bank: sources - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com.
  11. ^ "Security forces arrested a Senior Hamas operative in the West Bank, IDF". Ynetnews. 19 October 2023.