Son of Hamas Founder Shakes Up UN Human Rights Council: ‘If Israel Did Not Exist, You Would Have No One to Blame’

Patrick Goodenough | September 25, 2017 | 6:51pm EDT
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Mosab Hassan Yousef speaks at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, September 25, 2017. U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer sits behind him. (Screengrab: U.N. Webcast)

( – The U.N. Human Rights Council’s perennial debate focusing on condemning Israel witnessed an unusual intervention Monday – a strong-worded statement in Arabic-accented English slamming not Israel but the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking for less than 90 seconds, the speaker questioned the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas’s P.A., accused it of jailing and torturing its critics, and called it the “greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.”

“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame,” he declared, concluding by accusing the P.A. of using the HRC platform “to mislead the international community, to mislead the Palestinian society to believe that Israel is responsible for the problem you create.”

The speaker was Mosab Hassan Yousef, the disowned son of a founder of the Islamist terror movement Hamas, and a convert to Christianity.

Yousef’s statement at the HRC in Geneva was especially striking as it came among dozens of others – by U.N. member-states and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – almost universally condemning Israel.

Permanent item number seven on the HRC’s agenda deals with Israel. None of the other 192 member-states of the U.N. are the subject of a country-specific agenda item. Any crisis situation occurring elsewhere in the world is covered under a general agenda item (number four), entitled “Human rights situations that require the council’s attention.”

This means that Israel alone is condemned every time the HRC holds a regular, three week-long session (three times a year).

In recent times Western democracies have generally boycotted the item seven debate, and the list of speakers on Monday reflected both their absence and the prominent role played at the HRC by some of the world’s most autocratic regimes.

The Palestinian representative was first to speak, followed by delegates from Syria, Venezuela, Tunisia, Egypt, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Qatar, Brazil, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Cuba.

Others to speak later included representatives of Iran, China, Russia, Sudan and North Korea, before more than a dozen NGO representatives made statements, most of them similarly critical of Israel.

Yousef spoke on behalf of the Geneva-based NGO U.N. Watch. His full statement is below.

In it, he challenged the P.A.’s legitimacy. Abbas’ four-year mandate expired in January 2009, although his tenure was extended by decree for a year beyond that. Presidential elections scheduled for January 2010 were then postponed indefinitely, also by decree. More than seven years later, Abbas remains – in the West Bank at least – “president of the State of Palestine.”

Yousef, the son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was himself a Hamas member who abandoned Islam and embraced Christianity.

He secretly informed on Hamas’ activities to Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency for a decade, helping to thwart a number of planned terrorist attacks. He moved to the U.S. in 2007 and was later granted political asylum. In 2010 he wrote a memoir in 2010 entitled “Son of Hamas.”

U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer noted Monday that while the HRC focuses disproportionately on Israel it has no special agenda item relating to the human rights situation in Syria, Sudan, Iran, North Korea or anywhere else.

“For good reason, Western democracies once again boycotted today’s debate,” Neuer said.

“In the dystopian universe of George Orwell’s 1984, everyone was forced to undergo a daily ‘Two Minute of Hate’. In the dystopian universe of the U.N. Human Rights Council – where Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Cuba and Venezuela are members – the built-in schedule of every session includes one day dedicated solely to spewing hate against the Jewish state.”

President Trump at the U.N. General Assembly last week called the HRC “a massive source of embarrassment.”

Mosab Hassan Yousef’s statement on Monday:

“My name is Mosab Hassan Yousef. I grew up in Ramallah as a member of Hamas.

I address these words to the Palestinian Authority, which claims to be the ‘sole legitimate representative’ of the Palestinian people.

“I ask: where does your legitimacy come from?

“The Palestinian people did not elect you, and they did not appoint you to represent them. You are self-appointed.

“Your accountability is not to your own people. This is evidenced by your own total violation for their human rights.

“In fact, the Palestinian individual and their human development is the least of your concerns.

“You kidnap Palestinian students from campus and torture them in your jails. You torture your political rivals. The suffering of the Palestinian people is the outcome of your selfish political interests. You are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.

“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame. Take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions.

“You fan the flames of conflict to maintain your abusive power.

“Finally, you use this platform to mislead the international community, to mislead the Palestinian society, to believe that Israel is responsible for the problem you create.”

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