Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Son of Hamas

You know, by and large, I'm relatively apolitical. I'm not sure that politics or government can solve the world's problems. It doesn't matter who is in power or what kind of ideals they're trying to pursue, government isn't the solution. Doesn't matter what size, doesn't matter how much or how little they interfere or help with people's lives. The problems of the world will just go on.

My attitude is especially true when it comes to Israel. I can't say that I'm an expert on the region. I'm not even sure I want to or could choose sides in the on-going conflicts. Yes, the Palestinian terrorists have blood on their hands but then, so do the Israelis. Add to that the fact that I'm an ardent amillennialist who believes that any divinely granted Jewish claim on the Holy Land was invalidated back in the days of the First Temple and that the Holy Land doesn't have a role to play in salvation history anymore, and you can see why I'm not all that worked up about it. So far as I'm concerned, Israel and Palestine should be able to co-exist peacefully side by side. Give the Palestinians at least some of the land that was stolen from them and allow them to have an actual state.

But at the same time, when I heard about the book Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef, I had to read it. It was a sort of snap decision and one that I don't regret. It's taken me a while to get around to reading this one, but I'm glad I did.

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of one of Hamas's founders. He grew up in the unique position of seeing this organization become a terrorist threat to Israel. More than that, because of his association, he had to endure torture (or, at the very least, harsh interrogations) at the hands of the Israelis. He also saw the horrors that Hamas inflicted upon their own people. It was enough to make him willing to work for Shin Bet, informing on Hamas and doing his best to bring down the terrorists while protecting his father. More interesting for me was the fact that this decision was also influenced by Yousef slowly becoming a Christian.

I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to find out when I read this book. I certainly didn't think that Yousef was an incarnation of James Bond or Evan Bourne. I mean, come on, those are fictional stories. There's not a lot of action in this book, but that's okay, because Yousef opens his family and his culture to his readers, giving us glimpses of what life is like in the occupied West Bank. He shares his frustration with how the Palestinian leaders seemed to sell out their own people, content to pursue power and influence rather than peace.

So if you've got an interest in the Middle East and Israel in particular, I'd say you can't go wrong with this book. I learned quite a bit and I know that Yousef, his family, and his people will be in my prayers. After all, there is only one who can legitimately be called the Prince of Peace. Would that everyone who seeks peace turned to Him first.

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