I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

by Izzeldin Abuelaish

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Search for Common Ground Award
Middle East Institute Award
Finalist, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship
Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"A necessary lesson against hatred and revenge" -Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

"In this book, Doctor Abuelaish has expressed a remarkable commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation that describes the foundation for a permanent peace in the Holy Land." -President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

By turns inspiring and heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, I Shall Not Hate is Izzeldin Abuelaish's account of an extraordinary life.

A Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and "who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians" (New York Times), Abuelaish has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life - as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose daughters were killed by Israeli soldiers on January 16, 2009, during Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world.

Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be "the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802779489
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 92,544
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH is a three-time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, and is often referred to as “the Gaza Doctor” in the media. He is a Palestinian medical doctor and infertility specialist who has dedicated his life to peace in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. He is the Founder and President of the Daughters for Life Foundation, a Canadian charity that provides awards and scholarships to young women in the Middle East in memory of his slain daughters. He gave a TED talk in which he says that his aim in establishing the Foundation was to give other young women the opportunity to fulfill his daughters' dreams for an educated future as agents of change in the journey towards peace. He now lives with his family in Canada, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. His website and foundation can be found at www.daughtersforlife.com.
Izzeldin Abulaish, MD, PhD, is a Palestinian doctor and infertility expert who was born and raised in Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He received a scholarship to study medicine in Cairo, and then received a diploma from the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of London. He completed a residency in the same discipline at Soroka Hospital in Israel, followed by a specialty in foetal medicine in Italy and Belgium. He then undertook a Masters in public health (health policy and management) at Harvard University. Before his three daughters were killed in January 2009 during the Israeli incursion into Gaza, Dr Abulaish worked as a senior researcher at Gertner Institute at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. He now lives with his family in Toronto, where is associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. His website and foundation can be found at www.daughtersforlife.com

Read an Excerpt



Walker & Company

Copyright © 2011 Izzeldin Abuelaish
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8027-7917-5

Chapter One

Sand and Sky

It was as close to heaven and as far from hell as I could get that day, an isolated stretch of beach just two and a half miles from the misery of Gaza City, where waves roll up on the shore as if to wash away yesterday and leave a fresh start for tomorrow.

We probably looked like any other family at the beach—my two sons and six daughters, a few cousins and uncles and aunts—the kids frolicking in the water, writing their names in the sand, calling to each other over the onshore winds. But like most things in the Middle East, this picture-perfect gathering was not what it seemed. I'd brought the family to the beach to find some peace in the middle of our grief. It was December 12, 2008, just twelve short weeks since my wife, Nadia, had died from acute leukemia, leaving our eight children motherless, the youngest of them, our son Abdullah, only six years old. She'd been diagnosed and then died in only two weeks. Her death left us shocked, dazed, and wobbling with the sudden loss of the equilibrium she had always provided. I had to bring the family together, away from the noise and chaos of Jabalia City, where we lived, to find privacy for all of us to remember and to strengthen the ties that bind us one to the other.

The day was cool, the December sky whitewashed by a pale winter sun, the Mediterranean a pure azure blue. But even as I watched these sons and daughters of mine playing in the surf, looking like joyful children playing anywhere, I was apprehensive about our future and the future of our region. And even I did not imagine how our personal tragedy was about to multiply many times over. People were grumbling about impending military action. For several years, the Israelis had been bombing the smugglers' tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, but recently the attacks had become more frequent. Ever since the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had been captured by a group of Islamic militants in June ????, a blockade had been put in place, presumably to punish the Palestinian people as a whole for the actions of a few. But now the blockade was even tighter, and the tunnels were the only way most items got into the Gaza Strip. Every time they had been bombed, they had been rebuilt, and then Israel would bomb them again. Adding to the isolation, the three crossings from Israel and Egypt into Gaza had been closed to the media for six months, a sign that the Israelis didn't want anyone to know what was going on. You could feel the tension in the air.

Most of the world has heard of the Gaza Strip. But few know what it's like to live here, blockaded and impoverished, year after year, decade after decade, watching while promises are broken and opportunities are lost. According to the United Nations, the Gaza Strip has the highest population density in the world. The majority of its approximately 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees, many of whom have been living in refugee camps for decades; it is estimated that 80 percent are living in poverty. Our schools are overcrowded, and there isn't enough money to pave the roads or supply the hospitals.

The eight refugee camps and the cities—Gaza City and Jabalia City—that make up Gaza are noisy, crowded, dirty. One refugee camp, the Beach Camp in western Gaza City, houses more than eighty-one thousand people in less than one half of a square mile. But still, if you listen hard enough, even in the camps you can hear the heartbeat of the Palestinian nation. People should understand that Palestinians don't live for themselves alone. They live for and support each other. What I do for myself and my children, I also do for my brothers and sisters and their children. My salary is for all of my family. We are a community.

The spirit of Gaza is in the cafés where narghile-smoking patrons discuss the latest political news; it's in the crowded alleyways where children play; in the markets where women shop then rush back to their families; in the words of the old men shuffling along the broken streets to meet their friends, fingering their worry beads and regretting the losses of the past.

At first glance you might think everyone is in a hurry—heads down, no eye contact as people move from place to place—but these are the gestures of angry people who have been coerced, neglected, and oppressed. Thick, unrelenting oppression touches every single aspect of life in Gaza, from the graffiti on the walls of the cities and towns to the unsmiling elderly, the unemployed young men crowding the streets, and the children—that December day, my own—seeking relief in play at the beach.

This is my Gaza: Israeli gunships on the horizon, helicopters overhead, the airless smugglers' tunnels into Egypt, UN relief trucks on the roadways, smashed buildings, and corroding infrastructure. There is never enough—not enough cooking oil, not enough fresh fruit or water. Never, ever enough. So easily do allegiances switch inside Gaza that it is sometimes hard to know who is in charge, whom to hold responsible: Israel, the international community, Fatah, Hamas, the gangs, the religious fundamentalists. Most blame the Israelis, the United States, history.

Gaza is a human time bomb in the process of imploding. All through 2008 there were warning signs that the world ignored. The election of Hamas in January 2006 increased the tension between Israelis and Palestinians, as did the sporadic firing of Qassam rockets into Israel and the sanctions imposed on Palestinians by the international community, as a result.

The rockets, homemade, most often missing their targets, spoke the language of desperation. They invited overreaction by the Israeli army and retaliatory rocket attacks from helicopter gunships that rained down death and destruction on Palestinians, often defenseless children. That in turn set the stage for more Qassam rockets—and the cycle kept repeating itself.

As a physician, I would describe this cycle of taunting and bullying as a form of self-destructive behavior that arises when a situation is viewed as hopeless. Everything is denied to us in Gaza. The response to each of our desires and needs is "No." No gas, no electricity, no exit visa. No to your children, no to life. Even the well-educated can't cope; there are more postgraduates and university graduates per capita here in Gaza than in most places on earth, but their socioeconomic life does not match their educational level because of poverty, closed borders, unemployment, and substandard housing. People cannot survive, cannot live a normal life, and as a result, extremism has been on the rise. It is human nature to seek revenge in the face of relentless suffering. You can't expect an unhealthy person to think logically. Almost everyone here has psychiatric problems of one type or another; everyone needs rehabilitation. But no help is available to ease the tension. This parasuicidal behavior—the launching of rockets and the suicide bombings—invites counterattacks by the Israelis and then revenge from the Gazans, which leads to an even more disproportionate response from the Israelis. And the vicious cycle continues.

More than half of the people in Gaza are under the age of eighteen; that's a lot of angry, disenfranchised young people. Teachers report behavior problems in schools—conduct that demonstrates outward frustration and a sense of helplessness in the face of war and violence. Violence against women has escalated in the last ten years, as it always does during conflict. Unemployment and the related feelings of futility and hopelessness create a breed of people who are ready to take action because they feel like outcasts—like they have nothing to lose, and worse, nothing to save.

They are trying to get the attention of the people outside our closed borders: those who make decisions about who is welcome and who is not. Their rallying cry is "Look over here, the level of suffering in this place has to stop." But how can Gazans attract the attention of the international community? Even humanitarian aid organizations depend on permission from Israel to enter and leave the Gaza Strip. There is a blatant abuse of power by people given the title of border patrol officer and a uniform, but who may not even understand the implications beyond a simple list of rules dictated by ego-driven leaders. They are disconnected from the common ground with others who are fellow human beings.

The acts of violence committed by the Palestinians are expressions of the frustration and rage of a people who feel impotent and hopeless. The primitive and cheap Qassam is actually the most expensive rocket in the world when you consider the consequences—the life-altering repercussions it has created on both sides of the divide and on the Palestinians in particular. The disproportionate reaction by the institutionalized military powers causes loss of innocent lives, demolishes houses and farms; nothing is spared, and nothing is sacred.

I've lived with this tension in varying degrees throughout my life, and have always done my utmost to succeed, despite the limits our circumstances have imposed on us. I was born in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza in 1955, the oldest of six brothers and three sisters, and our lives were never easy. But even as a child I always had hope for a better tomorrow. As a child, I knew that education was a privilege: something sacred and the key to many possibilities. I remember holding on tightly to my books the same as a mother cat would hold on to her newborn kittens, protecting my most valuable possessions with my life, in spite of any destruction that might have been going on around me. I loaned those treasures to my brothers and even some friends who were younger than I was. But before I did so, I let them know that they better take care of them as though they were their own most treasured possessions. I still have all those books today.

Through hard work, constant striving, and the rewards that come to a believer, I became a doctor. However, it wouldn't have been possible without the tremendous, untiring efforts of my parents and the rest of my family, who altruistically sacrificed everything, even though they had nothing, to support me throughout my time of studying. When I went to medical school in Cairo, they worried because I would be far away from them. Would I have enough to eat? Would I find our traditional foods? My favorite cookies; my favorite Palestinian spices; olives and olive oil? My mother would send these things with Gazans who came to visit Egypt. Sometimes I would receive packages of clothing, soap, apples, tea, coffee—all of which I needed, but also some of my favorite things. My family recognized my deep desire to make a better life for everyone and wanted to invest in me with very high hopes that I could help all of us. After medical school, I got a diploma in obstetrics and gynecology from the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of London. Later, beginning in June 1997, I undertook a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Soroka hospital in Israel, becoming the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital. Then I studied fetal medicine and genetics at the V. Buzzi hospital in Milan, Italy, and the Erasme hospital in Brussels, Belgium, and became an infertility specialist. After that I realized that if I was going to make a larger diff erence for the Palestinian people, I needed management and policy-making skills, so I enrolled in a master's program in public health (health policy and management) at Harvard University. Then I worked as a senior researcher at the Gertner Institute in the Sheba hospital in Israel.

All of my adult life I have had one leg in Palestine and the other in Israel, an unusual stance in this region. Whether delivering babies, helping couples overcome infertility, or researching the effect of health care on poor populations versus rich ones, or the impact on populations with access to medical help versus populations without access, I have long felt that medicine can bridge the divide between people and that doctors can be messengers of peace.


Excerpted from I SHALL NOT HATE by IZZELDIN ABUELAISH Copyright © 2011 by Izzeldin Abuelaish. Excerpted by permission of Walker & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Dr. Marek Glezerman....................xi
1 Sand and Sky....................1
2 Refugee Childhood....................20
3 Finding My Way....................71
4 Hearts and Minds....................108
5 Loss....................141
6 Attack....................155
7 Aftermath....................191
8 Our New Home....................208
9 Daughters for Life....................218

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I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
xrayedgrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Abuelaish's book "I shall not Hate" is a testimony to Love, Faith and the Human spirit.To begin I have to say that I have never experienced even a fraction of the heartache and pain that Dr.Abuelaish has endured in the course of his life. While some might have become hardened by these expeiences Dr. Abuelaish has managed to remain a man of peace and his clear headed voice rings throughout his book.Raised in Gaza he describes the life there, the heartaches, headaches as well as the deep sense of community and family.Dr.Abuelaish descrives the influencial Israeli's who helped him to see that while there are conflicts between these 2 peoples they are all just human at heart.As a mother it was difficult reading of this father's anguish and loss of his daughters. But like all things that are good for you, while it makes you uncomfortable it is important that we read and learn from situations such as these. Even with all the turmoil that Dr. Abuelaish describes, his voice of hope and message of peace is unmistakeable and makes this not just another tragic story but one that can help us all to learn and grow.I think this book is a blessing and I plan to pass it on and often!Read it, learn from it and then do something about it!
dele2451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is so very tragic and even more inspiring than I could have imagined. Dr Abuelaish is a shining beacon of hope and reason in a very dark world of deprivation, war, and hate. Every person who has any part of the Israeli/Palestinian peace process (or the destruction of it) should commit this book to memory. That goes for other regions plagued by violence too. As for the actual writing, I would have actually given the book a five, but I felt some parts of the text were written while the author was still numb/shell-shocked so the descriptions of the emotional conflicts were not as complete as the reporting of the actual incidents. That could understandably be a coping mechanism when dealing with such a terrible and personal loss, but it detracted just a bit from the power of the story. Overall, I think is a very important story and I would recommend it to anyone. Thank you again Early Reviewers for a great read!
tymfos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book from the LT Early Reviewer program, in return for my willingness to review it. Once I began reading this book, I found it difficult to put down. This is a remarkable book by and about a remarkable man. Dr. Abuelaish has overcome great obstacles, growing up with grinding poverty and oppression in Gaza, and achieved great things. The everyday indiginities he has endured to pursue his education and profession are immense, and his patience in the face of it all is remarkable. Most remarkable is his willingness to forgive even the most grievous of wrongs; his ability to see the good and bad on both sides of a deep divide; his determination to meet each person he encounters as an individual without pre-judging, and his drive to look forward toward the future, rather than lingering helplessly in the grip of past wrongs.I learned a lot from this book about life in Gaza, and about what it means to be a peacemaker in a world filled with too much violence and hate. I hope that someday his dream of peace and reconcilliation between Palestinians and Jews will be fulfilled. An excellent book!
VaterOlsen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Abuelaish's memoir of growing up and living in the Gaza Strip is both a heartwarming and heartbreaking story. Abuelaish overcomes many obstacles to become doctor of obstetrics and gynecology and then marry and start a family. Difficulties living in poverty as a Palestinian are challenged and many times surmounted. Rather than hating Israelis as a group, he builds relationships one-by-one. While making strides in his professional life, he realizes that his beloved family often absorbs the brunt of his frustration and anger. He can not allow himself to get angry with a border guard, however he can fume at his family members. After many successes, three of his daughters are killed in his home by Israelis. Despite this tragedy, Abuelaish will not allow himself or others to blindly hate others.
SqueakyChu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I felt honored to have read this book. Being Jewish and having Israeli family, I found it strange to read a book that is almost like a letter from ¿the other side¿. I was just blown away by Dr. Abuelaish¿s suppression of rage and sadness after family deaths, injuries, and countless injustices suffered at the hands of Israelis. Instead of lashing out, he offers his hand in peace to stop this useless warfare which is only causing fear, injury, and death to both the Palestinians and Israelis.I certainly agree with Dr. Abuelaish when he says the distrust of the opposition comes from a lack of knowing each other. With closed borders and (often literal) walls (instead of bridges), this will only increase. How can the word get out to know each other better? Writing a book certainly does that.When younger, I also worked in Soroko Hospital. It makes me proud to know that Soroko Hospital was the medical center that allowed Dr. Abuelaish to complete his medical residency. There, as a staff nurse on a medical-surgical unit, I was also able to provide care to both Jewish and Arab patients. I always found every individual patient fascinating and never wavered in the quality of care I gave to anyone based on someone¿s individual religion or culture. Medicine is indeed a good place to begin our mutual cultural healing.Even as sad as the deaths of Dr. Abuelaish¿s beloved wife, daughters, and niece were, the most moving parts of this book for me were the instances where the Israeli-Palestinian friendships shined through. The most devastating part of the book for me was where Dr. Abuelaish reported on the fact that some Palestinians dared and succeeded in killing their own people for ¿collaborating¿ with Israelis. I already knew this fact, but seeing it written by the author made it jump out at me as incredibly grim.I remember, after the Six Day War, a song promising peace to a little Israeli girl. The lyrics (translated from the Hebrew) went something like this: ¿I promise you, my little girl, that this will be the very last war¿. I sang that song over and over again when an Israeli friend of mine gave me a record on which I found it. Now we see that the promise did not come true. Dr. Abuelaish¿s dream is not that different from the aspirations of people everywhere. People want to live with dignity, be able to provide for their families, have sufficient shelter and food, and be free from fear. I like how Dr. Abuelaish described the history and present situation of Palestinian Arabs through a first person account. It went much farther than Joe Sacco¿s [Palestine] in introducing me to how daily life goes on in Gaza. It amazed me further to learn that a boy born into such utter poverty in a Gaza refugee camp could grow up to be a doctor and later even study at Harvard! More astounding is the fact that Dr. Abuelaish forces himself to squelch any rage against the Israelis by working so determinedly on behalf of his people and for the idea of peaceful Palestinian-Israeli coexistence.In memory of Bessan, Mayar, and Aya, the three daughters of Dr. Abuelaish who died as the result of Israeli shelling, Dr. Abuelaish started a foundation to help educate Palestinian women. He personally saw how strong women could be within his own family. With education, he feels, they can be even stronger and have more of an impact on the world around them. I totally support what I believe to be his positive reaction to the total chaos that often reigns in Gaza.If this book has any faults at all, it¿s that some of Dr. Abuelaish¿s statements were a bit repetitive. I forgive him for that as he had a point to make, and all he wanted to do was to emphasize some stronger points. It¿s nothing that a good editor can¿t fix with a rewrite.I must admit that I was relieved to learn that Dr. Abuelaish and his family are now living in Toronto, Canada. That¿s a lovely cosmopolitan city and a great place for his family. I want them all to be free from fear
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Abuelaish is a Palestinian infertility doctor who works in an Israeli hospital. Through hard work and education, he has come a long way from his poverty-stricken childhood in a refugee camp in Gaza. When Israelis attacked the Gaza strip in 2009, a tank shot rounds into his daughters' bedroom, killing three of his daughters and a niece, and gravely injuring more family members. But as Dr. Abuelaish insists, he will not take revenge; instead, he hopes that this will pave the way to true peace, built on mutual respect and understanding of similarities between Palestinians and Israelis.It's impossible not to have respect for this man, who lost three children, yet continues to hold tight to the belief that there can be a better way, that good comes from bad, and that there can be peace if people would come together and begin a dialogue. I was a little more mixed in my reaction to his book, primarily because I know so little of the history of the conflict that I was reluctant to take Dr. Abuelaish's interpretation at face value. His wording is sometimes stilted or repetitive, but this was a much smaller quibble in the face of a passionate cry for change. His description of the events that changed his life and his family's lives forever was absolutely heartbreaking. I admire him for continuing to campaign for peace in the face of personal tragedy.
stretch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I Shall Not Hate is truly a book worth reading. The raw emotional passion that Abuelaish feels throughout the book is self-evident in this unapologetic, unpolished work about one man's hope for a new way forward for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Abuelaish, a Palestinian physician, is an advocate that the people of Palestine and the people of Israel need to come together in mutual respect and put the past in the past if there is ever going to be peace between the two countries. The military option has clearly not worked, and the conditions in which the Palestinians are forced to live is beyond harsh, some might even go as far as to say in humane, could make anybody want to seek vengeance. But Abuelaish doesn't see the endless cycle of revenge as an answer even after all the humiliation, and everyday hardships that comes with the tight border controls; even after the tragic deaths of his wife (cancer) and the deaths of his daughters and niece and the hands of the Israeli army, Abuelaish is a fervent believer that the only way forward is through forgiveness and respect. I Shall Not Hate is book that needs to be read by those wanting a deeper understanding of what is at stake in this war and why the world's current solutions won't be enough to bring peace to such a troubled people. Abuelaish's hope for a better future is truly inspiring.
tangledthread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has taken me a long time to actually sit down and read this book. Part of the reason was when it first arrived, I realized that I had heard the NPR stories and interviews with the author's oldest daughter when she participated in the Creativity for Peace Camp in the U.S. in 2005. How very sad to learn that her voice is no more.I cannot imagine how incredibly painful it must have been for the author to write this book. Shortly after losing his wife to leukemia, while contemplating the best way to continue to raise his 8 children, suddenly 3 of them are killed by a shell from an Israeli tank while they were in their home.The author describes life in Gaza, from growing up in a refugee camp, leaving as a young adult for his education, then returning with his wife in order to raise their children near their extended family. He communicates the importance of family in a community that is hemmed in on all sides. He describes the routine hassle of commuting to work twice a week through the Gaza border to work as a physician in an Israeli hospital. His writing expresses an unwavering faith that medicine and the language of healing can do more than heal physical illness, but can help to heal the spiritual illness of hatred. And such healing will bring justice for the young women that have been lost to him.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd never heard of Dr. Abuelaish, a Palestinian, he recently became well known in Israel after his daughters were killed by Israeli forces. He has a heroic temperament and life story, seemingly able to forgive and accept no matter what abuse comes his way, something the Middle East needs more of. It's outrageous to read of how Palestinians are treated by the Israelis, yet these things can go both ways. Abuelaish message is simple and classic, to just get along because we are all people, brothers, sisters and so on. The book gets a little caught up in politics and preaching a message of peace, but the story of his youth and rise out of the Gaza Strip ghetto is interesting.
ruthiekro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Simply, a great book. Izeldin Abuelaish's 'I Shall Not Hate' should be required reading for every young American - truly for young and old everywhere. Beside providing a clear and (I think) fair explanation of the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, it paints a vivid and heartbreaking portrait of life inside Gaza. As a Palestinian doctor working in Israel Dr. Abuelaish became convinced that health and medicine are common concerns for all, regardless of race or religion. His dedication and spirit influenced his coworkers and patients. When the doctor's home in Gaza was bombed, three of his daughters and a niece were killed. His reaction was anger but not hate. Dr. Abuelaish has devoted his life to teaching peace and honoring his daughters' memories. His story is simply told yet immensely powerful.
labfs39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Izzeldin Abuelaish has every reason to hate the Israelis. Born in a squalid refugee camp in Gaza, his family unable to return to the prosperous farm they had lived on for generations, Abuelaish grew up in abject poverty. Even as a child, he had to work to help support the family, and his schooling was always in danger of being curtailed. But thanks to his mother and his own unquenchable desire to learn, Abuelaish persevered and succeeded beyond all expectations. Once established as a doctor, Abuelaish returned to live in Gaza and he raised a family there, but worked in Israel. Such a situation is highly unusual given both the restrictions of movement in and out of Gaza, and the distrust between Israelis and Palestinians. Abuelaish was the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital, and he used every opportunity both there and abroad to talk about the horrible conditions within Gaza and to advocate for mutual understanding and peace.In 2008 Hamas was launching a steady stream of missiles against Israeli border towns, and on December 27 the Israelis struck Gaza with a surprise air strike followed by three weeks of ground assault. With no way out of Gaza, Abuelaish relied on his renown as a doctor working in Israel to protect him and his family. But no place was safe from Operation Cast Lead. The tragic outcome became an international firestorm, and Abuelaish found his opportunities to promote peace open up to the international stage, if he could find it within himself to continue.I Shall Not Hate is the story of a remarkable man. Self-made, with noble aspirations, and subject to tragedy after tragedy, Abuelaish has a heartbreaking story to tell. But what makes the book a must-read is the message within the story. The idea that Palestinian-Israeli peace can be achieved and will be if enough people connect, learn each other¿s stories, and agree to move ahead without casting blame and seeking revenge. I was reluctant to read I Shall Not Hate, because I didn¿t want to become lost in the pain of his losses. Once I began, however, I was unable to put it down again, and I found that despite tragedy, the book is essentially one of hope. Perhaps not all is lost.
bibliophileofalls on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although it did take me longer than usual to feel completely engaged in this book, the last half of the book I found was very good reading. I did feel that it would probably be a goodf idea to read something written by an Israeli to balance this account of oppression and aggresion by the Israeli's targeting the Palestinians. Dr. Abuelaish makes a convincing case for dropping the retaliations and hate that have made this area of the world a war-zone for so many years. He presents a voice of reason and lays a groundwork for peace and co-existance which is so desparately needed there. His own personal losses are so huge they are beyond measure and yet his campaign towards peace continues unwavering. The world needs more people like this man and more books like "I shall not hate".
nittnut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very personal and inspiring tale of perseverance, love, loss and forgiveness. Dr. Abuelaish, who was born and raised in Gaza, tells the story of his childhood and how he came to believe that education and forgiveness were the way out of the poverty and despair prevalent in his community. He reiterates that there is no difference that cannot be overcome by Israeli's and Palestinian's simply getting to know each other one on one and having respect for each other as human beings. It may seem simplistic, but I believe it is absolutely true. It made me think more about elected officials and leaders of countries and political parties. How they seem to have lost sight of the people they are supposed to lead. How pride and power have corrupted most to the point that they are incapable of making decisions that will be for the good of their people, and in fact are very often making decisions to the great detriment of their people. A very thought provoking book and well worth the reading.
bartsy123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while you read a book that really sticks with you. I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish is one of those books.Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish has survived more heartbreak and suffering than any one man should ever have to endure. A Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Abuelaish has devoted his life to treating all patients on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli border. Following the sudden death of his wife from cancer in late 2008, Dr. Abuelaish and his eight children were still trying to piece their lives back together when another tragedy struck. On January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home, killing three daughters and a niece. Yet through it all, Dr. Abuelaish still holds to his beliefs and steadfastly maintains that he will not hate.It's hard to read this book and not think of recent headlines covering the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. When I heard of the latest clashes, I did notice myself truly paying attention to the number of people injured and killed on both sides. For me, this book has forever put a human voice to those casualty numbers we sometimes hear and always quickly forget.This book was difficult to read on many levels, but that should not deter others from reading it. First, as a person who has never traveled to Middle East and has not be raised in the Muslim faith, this book was complicated when it came to names of places and events as well as when trying to understand distances and historical references. I would have liked to have seen many more maps and translation guides to explain the culture and the region. Secondly, this book was obviously very tragic, sometimes beyond words. On sheer human heartbreaking terms, this is a family that lost a mother, three sisters and a niece all within the span of a few short months. However, for all of the difficulties I had reading this book, I would still recommend I Shall Not Hate. As the title indicates, Dr. Abuelaish chooses to live his life as a model for all citizens of this planet. And for that reason, his story transcends politics and religion. His is a human story of what can happen and how each of us has a choice in how we respond.
-Cee- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a unique autobiography and thoughtful expose of life in the Gaza Strip, written by a Nobel-nominated, Palestinian doctor who is convinced that peace in the Middle East is possible. Some will read this book and decide the author, Dr. Abuelaish, is a dreamer. But then, we have had dreamers all through history who have made an enormous impact on our thinking.Dr Abuelaish shares his personal story of a hardscrabble existence and lifelong perseverance which inspires and lifts up the human spirit. This is truly a book that leads us deep into a searching heart and a soul of wisdom striving to benefit all humanity. Seeking freedom and justice is the infrastructure in the life committment of this remarkable man.Even as an internationally trained doctor working in an Israeli hospital with the great respect of his patients and co-workers, Abuelaish (like all Gazans) is subjected to unnecessary anguish, humiliation and harsh limitations beyond his control. "Fruits such as apricots, plums, grapes, and avocados, even diary products, are suddenly declared nonessential and forbidden to us... The stiffening embargo, the incursions, attacks, and arrests are playing on the psyches of the people. What's worse is that we Gazans don't see the outside world caring much about our plight. That adds to the angst... All this while babies die from malnutrition, mothers bleed to death in childbirth, and an old lady with cancer is held up at the Erez Crossing because someone is trying to teach someone else a lesson."There is unbelievable sadness and violence continuously assaulting this man of peace and his family. It's not pretty. Through it all he practices amazing patience and tolerance. Abuelaish lives his belief that:"Hate is blindness and leads to irrational thinking...Hatred may be reversible if we allow it." This is an alarming and eye-opening book proposing important steps toward peace and human dignity... everywhere. It's worth thinking about. It's worth a try. War, terrorism and extreme hatred/fear is not working. We are compelled to take a hard look at what we can start doing - NOW.Recommended for those who are truly interested in recognizing our human similarities and working towards peaceful co-existence.
Jcambridge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the current events in the Middle East continue to unfold, this book becomes even more relevant to those who struggle to understand the complexities of the region. The is an amazing personal story that will hold the reader's attention and hopefully encourage others to look for peaceful ways to resolve the conflicts that seem to have no end. It offers hope in a climate that seems to be dominated by media headlines that are oftentimes beyond belief and understanding to those outside the region.
kidzdoc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This heartbreaking yet optimistic and remarkable memoir by a Palestinian OB/GYN who lost three daughters in an accidental bombing attack by Israeli Defense Forces in 2008 begins with the author's birth in a camp in the Gaza Strip, seven years after his father's family fled for their lives and abandoned their home during the 1948 Palestinian exodus (Nakba). Abuelaish overcame crushing poverty and difficult odds through hard work, studying at night by the light of a lamp, and won a scholarship to study medicine at Cairo University. Despite the deplorable living conditions in the Gaza Strip, he decided to return there after he completed his training, to serve the people who nurtured and supported him. Abuelaish was befriended by Israeli citizens in childhood, when he worked and lived with a Jewish family for several months as a teenager, and during the early years of his medical career, when he referred difficult cases to doctors in Israel who were impressed by his knowledge and good will. He became one of the first Palestinian physicians to complete a residency program and serve on the medical staff at an Israeli hospital, where he continued to earn the respect and devotion of his colleagues and patients. Through these interactions he realized that many Israelis did not hate Palestinians and wished to live in peace alongside them, despite repeated wars and the extremist positions of leaders and politicians on both sides.Abuelaish worked tirelessly in support of the Palestinian people, realizing that medicine could serve as a bridge to connect well meaning Israelis and Palestinians to overcome the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, the escalation of the battles between Palestinian insurgents and the Israeli Defense Forces made his goals more impossible to achieve, particularly after the crackdown and bombing campaign that occurred after Hamas took control of the Palestinian Parliament in 2006. After his wife's death in 2008, Abuelaish decided to emigrate with his children, to provide better lives and opportunities for them and to ensure their safety from the escalating violence in Gaza. Unfortunately, just before they were able to leave, an Israeli bomb ripped through the apartment building that he had built for his family, killing three of his daughters and a beloved niece. The tragedy was broadcast live on Israeli television, as he described the aftermath to a reporter by phone just after the bomb struck. Despite the personal tragedy, Abuelaish, who now lives with his remaining children in Toronto, remains optimistic about the prospects for peace in his homeland, due largely to the many friends he has made in Israel and Gaza. In his opinion, peace will come when leaders and politicians act in the broad interests of Israelis and Palestinians, rather than pursuing narrow goals or listening to the voices of extremists on both sides. He strongly supports an increased role for women in Palestinian society, as he believes that they are more likely to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis than their often belligerent male counterparts. In honor of his three deceased daughters he has set up a foundation, Daughters for Life, which will provide scholarships for Palestinian women to attend high school and university, and create or support programs aimed to improve the lives of women in Gaza and the West Bank.The book ends with a touching tribute to his late daughters and beloved wife, a list of lessons that he has learned, and a call to action to ensure that the crisis can be resolved once and forever.I Shall Not Hate is an amazing story, and Dr. Abuelaish's celebration of life and belief in his fellow man in the face of personal tragedy should provide inspiration to everyone that we can solve the world's problems, if we care about our fellow men and women as brothers and sisters and take the time to listen to each other.
ellenr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An incredible story of courage, integrity and humanity in the presence of severe poverty, suffering, and the most extreme losses. A single man's ability to seek peace through his own actions one person to one person.
_Zoe_ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a powerful and important book. Abuelaish tells a story of optimism against all odds: he grew up in the Gaza Strip, where it was struggle just to survive, but managed to succeed in school and become a doctor despite all the obstacles he faced. Rather than developing a deep hatred against the country that had caused him so much suffering, he retained a firm belief in Israelis as people and remained convinced that it was possible for Israelis and Palestinians to live in harmony. Even more amazingly, he maintained this belief and optimism even after three of his daughters were killed in an Israeli assault on Gaza. He of all people might be expected to turn to despair and hate, and yet he manages to look forward to a better future. This is an honest story that certainly isn't short on horror, but the underlying sense of hope makes all the difference. It's a very refreshing read, and highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the Middle East.
lostbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a good memoir about Dr. Abuelaish's tragic experience living in Gaza. I would have liked a better feeling for who his daughters were before their murder was described in the book (this was provided later in the book). I also would have liked him to expand further on his ideas for a solution to the conflict over in Gaza. Otherwise, it is a book I would recommend to others in order for them to get a better understanding of what life is like in Gaza.
AzureMountain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been moved by Dr. Abulelaish's story of loss and his desire for peace. I am in awe of his ability to remain composed and humane in the most inhumane of circumstances. His personal recollections of the daily trials all Palestinians are subjected to (the story of what he has to go through to get on an airplane sticks out) are vivid, personal and tragic. He has a simple message and he communicates it over and over again. Peace will not come unless the parties listen and their governments want peace. Once that is achieved, peace is possible. In many books, the sometimes repetitive nature of this message would bother me. In this book it only reinforces that despite losses that no parent should have to face - Dr. Abuelaish wants nothing more than peace and lives for nothing more than peace.Along with Stones Into Schools or Three Cups of Tea - I would recommend this book be required reading for all high school age children in the United States. I am sure there are people on the Israeli side with equally tragic stories and hopes for peace. If anyone has a book suggestion please let me know.I am fortunate that Dr. Abuelaish is coming to speak in my hometown and I have obtained a ticket to attend the event. Without the Library Thing Early Reviewers program - I would have missed this book and the opportunity to hear his message in person. Thank you.
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an amazingly inspirational memoir by a Palestinian doctor, born in a refugee camp in Gaza, and who, after his wife died, then lost 3 of his daughters when the Israelis fired into his home in the Gaza strip. His daughters died simply because they had been sleeping against "the wrong wall" that evening. Although angry and deeply grieving the death of his 3 daughters, Dr Abuelaish felt no hatred towards the Israelis who had conducted the unprovoked attacks. His live interview on Israeli television just hours after their deaths captured world attention not just on the plight of the Palestinians living in the Gaza but also astonished by the absence of calls for revenge, a call which many would have expected. Instead, he called for peace and cooperation between the 2 sides, for an understanding and acceptance of each other as individuals deserving of respect. His memoir doesn't shy away from the tough moments in his life. The hardship and starvation he went through as a child in a poor refugee village, an eldest son having to care for his family because of his father's illness, and because, as a second family, his father's first wife and their relations made sure that his family were despised and shunned in their village. His determination and the mentoring by some teachers allowed him to do well enough to earn scholarships to the University of Cairo to study medicine.Despite the continual humiliations he was forced to endure as a Palestinian living on what Israel believed to be their land, he was fortunate at one point in his young life, to work for a kind Israeli farming family who treated him as any other young child, who offered him kindness and more importantly, respect as a human being. He said it was this moment that he started to question why Palestinians were treated differently and why they were not afforded the same living conditions as the Israelis over the border.As a doctor, he continued to excel in his work and among doctors he found the equality he sought as a child. He was the first Palestinian to work in an Israeli hospital. He never lost his objective in treating all patients equally and respectfully regardless of nationality and race, and while he was angry that Palestinian hospitals continued to be poorly equipped because of lack of funding and also because of embargoes by the Israelis, his anger was already directed at unfair policies.As a reader, I am appalled at what he's had to go through in his life's journey, and at the same time, I am inspired and humbled by this amazing man. If we had more individuals like him in governments around the world, I do believe we'd have a better and safer world.
simora on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an inspiring and emotional story of this man who lost his 3 daughters in a Gaza attack on his Palestinian home! I have started reading this book not knowing much about the long term conflict in the Gaza strip, and I am glad I did so with a beginner's mind; Dr. Abuelaish' recount and amazingly neutral position in this history of conflict only helped me look at this sad and long overdue political argument through his eyes, free of preconceived ideas, stereotyping and generalizations. As a health care professional, I agree with his view on seeing medicine as a link between people, a bridge that can unite us all. Although his loss is inconceivably sad and unnecessary, it brought to life a book that should be read by anyone. This book reminds us all that truth is always in the middle, and that humanity is about what we all have in common, and not what sets us apart. A brilliant lesson in how to live and love despite all challenges.
TooBusyReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Abuelaish has a remarkable story to tell, and most remarkable of all is that after three of his daughters and his niece were killed in the Gaza strip, he still wants peace, not revenge. This alone says worlds about the man.The various wars, conflicts, and at the best of times, unease, between the Palestinians and the Israelis is tragic. Like two dogs, one bone, like schoolyard bullies. I don't pretend to know the solution but continued fighting, deprivation, and hate isn't it. This is the message that Palestinian Dr. A. is spreading despite the suffering he has endured, despite the near-impossible border crossings. His descriptions of life in Gaza were eye-opening for me.Because I am of a different religion and culture, some of these things do not make any sense to me. Why continue to have children (eventually, Izzeldin was one of 9 siblings and 2 half-siblings) when you live in a 10X10 room and cannot support the children you already have? And I don't think I could worship a god who is appeased by animals sacrifices. Again, I recognize that I come from a very different culture and cannot clearly see his viewpoint.Interestingly, Dr. A had eight children and became an infertility specialist, and he writes of why that specialty is so important to him. How is it that we can look at one life and say it is more valuable than another one? Look at the infants in the delivery rooms: they are innocent children who have the right to grow up to be educated adults with opportunities in life. Then we fill them with stories that promote hatred and fear.He worked closely with Israeli doctors, staff, and patients as well as Palestinians. For the most part, these enemies worked well together and respected one another, as is often the case when people get to know each other as individuals rather than stereotypes. Some of the border guards ¿ well, that's a different story. When he gives speeches, he is often shouted down by people who want to argue but not listen. But then again, there are the people willing to consider what he has to say, to consider how peace can be created.The writing isn't always exceptional. On one page, writing about the PLO, the author says he is not political but ¿was never accused of not being engaged.¿ On the next page, he writes ¿I was also never accused of not being engaged.¿ And I'm not sure exactly what he means in either statement. Still, this book is a great read for someone who wants to understand more about Gaza and one man's hope for peace.I was given a copy of this book by the Publisher through LibraryThing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very personal and touching account of one Palestinian family from Gaza and the effects of occupation, including suggestions for reconciliation despite unthinkable suffering, written from the point of view of a Palestinan physician