The Real Problem in the Middle East
Sitting face to face with the son of the man who founded a notorious terrorist organization, I found myself hoping he would have a simple answer to one of the most complex problems in the world; finding peace in the Middle East.
Mosab Hassan Yousef grew up looking for a way to find a homeland for his Palestinian people and that journey has led him very far away from home. He's in the United States now. He's a Christian and he says, for him, his love of Jesus has given him the key to finding peace between the Israel and Palestine, between Jews and Muslims.
I was invited by the San Diego Jewish Book Fair to moderate a discussion of Yousef's book, Son of Hamas. It chronicles his boyhood growth as a Muslim, climbing the ladder toward the ultimate Muslim religious journey, which is jihad. His father was his hero. Mosab's father was a holy man who was recruited by his neighbors to organize them against Israel and fight for a homeland. Hamas was born and grew into a violent, terrorist organization and Mosab grew up in it.
After years of fighting and being thrown in and out of Israeli prisons, he was a wise 18 year old who began to realize the fight was fruitless. There were lies, he said, and deceit on both sides. In order to protect his family, he friends and his own life, he became a double-agent. His life became a roller coaster of friends, some who were Palestinians and some who were Israelis.
Here is an excerpt from the first page of his book. I know you see me as a traitor; please understand it was not you I chose to betray, but your understanding of what it means to be a hero. When Middle Eastern nations, Jews and Arabs alike, start to understand some of what I understand, only then will there be peace.
Mosab left his family and his homeland and he came to the United States seeking asylum. If he ever returned home, he would be killed as a traitor.
He says if the world gets caught up in dividing physical borders and setting territory boundaries, it will miss the possible solution to the generations of bloodshed. He says the problem lies in the pages of the Qu'ran. He says as long as Muslims believe shedding blood and killing for salvation is their way to their God, the war will never end.
He says truth and forgiveness are the only solutions. The final words of his book say this; the challenge, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, is not to find the solution. The challenge is to be the first courageous enough to embrace it.