Nasser Yousef was born in 1943 in Jiser Al-Majam'a, in the Jordan Valley. He had an early education in Shuneh Shamaliyyeh, amd completed high school at Hassan Al-Sabah School in Irbid, Jordan. Yousef joined the Fatah movement in 1964, and its military department in 1965. He received training at Namkeen Military College in China (July-Dec. 1967), and soon after became Fatah's commander of the Central Sector in Jordan from 1968-1969. He was then brigade commander in Lebanon from 1969-1970 (in the Al-Arqube area known as "Fatah land"), and general in the PLA. He then joined a field study mission on behalf of the PLO in 1974 in Vietnam, and later that year became the Commander of the September Martyrs' Brigade in Sur, Lebanon. In 1979, Yousef was Commander of the Yarmouk forces. In 1986, he was Commander of the Al-Karameh forces in Jordan.
Yousef then began his career as a PLO politician, when he in 1989, he was elected a member of the Fatah Central Committee. He studied Islamic Economics at Yarmouk University, Jordan, in 1990, and then returned to Gaza in May, 1994, with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. He became head of the Public Security Forces, with the rank of Major-General, and was based in Gaza. In 1995, he was responsible for joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols in Gaza, and oversaw the IDF withdrawal from Jenin in Nov. 1996. He is currently the head of the Public Security Forces in Gaza.