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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

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

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (47 valutazioni)
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282 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9780802779489
Formato:
Libro

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER
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."
Pubblicato:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9780802779489
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

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

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Anteprima del libro

I Shall Not Hate - Izzeldin Abuelaish

I Shall Not Hate

A Gaza Doctor’s Journey

on the Road to Peace

and Human Dignity

Izzeldin Abuelaish

To the memory of my parents—

my mother, Dalal, and my father, Mohammed.

To the memory of my wife, Nadia,

my daughters Bessan, Mayar, and Aya,

and my niece Noor.

To children everywhere.

Their only weapons are love and hope . . .

Contents

Foreword

One - Sand and Sky

Two - Refugee Childhood

Three - Finding My Way

Four - Hearts and Minds

Five - Loss

Six - Attack

Seven - Aftermath

Eight - Our New Home

Nine - Daughters for Life

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

A Note on the Author

Plate Section

Copyright Page

Foreword

In the early nineties, when I was chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish contacted me for consultation on patients he was treating in the Gaza Strip. From then on, he used to bring his patients—mostly infertile couples—to me after work, and I provided the consulting, usually free of charge. In time, I came to know Izzeldin as a very dedicated physician and empathetic human being and was impressed by his genuine compassion for his patients. I also found the way he looked at life and the world at large to be quite remarkable. Making the trip from Gaza to Soroka hospital isn’t easy. You never know whether the border will be closed and if you will be able to get back again. Given that he and his fellow Gazans experience these frustrations on a daily basis, I found it extraordinary that Izzeldin never generalized his complaints. I never heard him condemn the injustices he suffered in general but only in specific, very focused ways. This attitude is also reflected in his optimistic outlook on life: he seems devoid of any existential pessimism or hopelessness. He never dwells on what could have been done in the past, but rather on what can be done in the future. He is forward-looking and full of hope, which isn’t easy in this world and is particularly hard in his world.

Another of Izzeldin’s impressive character traits is his eagerness to improve his knowledge. He’s always pushed for more training and is never tired of learning and developing his skills. When I met him, he’d done obstetrics and gynecology in Saudi Arabia but he was dreaming of a formal residency in Israel. I regarded it as a great challenge to make him the first Palestinian physician to complete one. Residency programs in Israel are very intense and of high quality. Considering all the difficulties he faced living in Gaza, the question was not whether he was qualified for such a position but whether he would ever be able to make it work, since he never knew whether he’d be able to cross the border to fulfill the duties that awaited him here.

In 1995, at about the time I moved on to a chairmanship at another hospital, Izzeldin was admitted to the residency program in obstetrics and gynecology at Soroka Medical Center. It was an individually designed residency, not aimed at board exams but at completion of the curriculum. He completed it against all odds—all the different departments and rotations, troublesome border crossings, language barriers, and problems with schedules. For instance, if you don’t show up, someone else has to pitch in for you on short notice, and nobody likes to do that. Depending on what was happening at the border, there were times when Izzeldin, along with all other Palestinians from Gaza, was not allowed to enter Israel. Sometimes after night shifts when the border was closed, he couldn’t get back home to his family in Gaza. But he never called it quits. He completed the six-year program, he acquired full command of the Hebrew language, and he became a skilled gynecologist and obstetrician.

Izzeldin has every reason to be frustrated, disappointed, and offended by the environment he’s lived in, but he is not. Despite everything he has seen and gone through, his belief in coexistence and in the peace process between Palestinians and Jews remains unshaken. He doesn’t view Israel as a monolithic entity where everyone is the same. He knows many Israelis; some have become his friends. He knows many Israelis who don’t dismiss all Palestinians as terrorists, and he knows many Palestinians who likewise do not look at all Israelis as right-wing occupiers. He believes that we are two peoples who want to live in peace and are fed up with war and bloodshed. In earlier times, ordinary people on both sides were more militant and the governments were perhaps more inclined to search for a solution. He believes that the situation is the reverse today: from the grass roots up, Palestinians and Israelis want to live in peace, to lead decent lives, to have roofs over their heads and safety for their children. It’s largely the leaders in both camps who continue to fight the unfinished battles of yesterday.

Over the years, we’ve kept in touch. I see him at conferences, and of course we also have discussions about the conflict in the Middle East and about the chances for reconciliation. Both of us are optimists at heart. Neither of us believes that the ideological obstacles that prevent us from finding common ground for a decent future are insurmountable. When our leaders discuss peace now, they speak mainly about the future geographic borders between Israel and the emerging Palestinian state. The conflict has become a quarrel about real estate. And this can, must, and will be resolved one day. Of course, this is an oversimplification. There is no denying that many fanatics on both sides keep doing everything they can to advance their respective extremist visions. But they are the minority. Our true tragedy is that almost everybody knows what the outcome will be, yet too few are willing to admit it and act accordingly: two states living side by side, Jerusalem with a special status, the symbolic return of a few thousand refugees, and compensation for the ones who don’t go back. The tragedy is the relentless march of follies in the opposite direction from this outcome, and all the Jewish and Arab casualties on that path. When people ask if my optimism results from idealism or realism, I have to say it’s a mix of the two. You have to be realistic even if you’re an idealist. And you have to be idealistic in order to cope with the reality here. If you judged our lives only by what happened yesterday or today, you’d never be able to lift your head and look to the future. If, on the other hand, you only look ahead, you’ll stumble and walk in circles.

Izzeldin is realistic. He knows it’s no rose garden we live in. But he strongly believes that medicine can bridge the divide between our peoples. Medicine and science know no boundaries or frontiers, nor should they. When I do research on a specific topic, I read publications and refer to data produced everywhere in the world—Japan, Syria, France, the United States. All that matters is the quality of the report, not where the authors come from. At international congresses we meet colleagues from all over the world, sometimes from countries that have no diplomatic relations with us or with each other. When I speak at scientific meetings, Arabs don’t walk out the way they sometimes do at the United Nations. If I talk about medicine and science with a colleague whose country has no diplomatic relationship with Israel, we talk as professionals—although we may easily slip onto the personal level over coffee afterward. Accepting differing points of view is possible if you know each other.

Izzeldin visited our home a few weeks before the Israel Defense Forces began the bombardment of Gaza, and later we talked on the phone as the shells were falling. I asked him how he was handling his life under this bombing, living under constant curfew with his children at home. He said, Like everyone else, we are all sleeping in the same room. We put some children against one wall and some against another wall so if we’re hit we won’t all be wiped out. On January 16, 2009, three of his girls were on the wrong wall. After this tragedy, who would have blamed him if he had been taken over by revenge and contempt?

A small group of influential Israelis asked for a formal investigation into the attack on Izzeldin’s house, and the Ministry of Defense responded by stalling and evasion. Currently an increasing number of Israeli voices, including parliament members, are making the same demand on an even larger scale, but there is still no formal and independent Israeli investigation going on. What the Israeli authorities have come out with so far isn’t sufficient. If a formal investigation comes to the conclusion that a huge mistake has been made, as it seems it has, the army should admit it in a straightforward and candid way—and apologize and take responsibility.

All of Izzeldin’s remarkable energy could have been turned into hate, but he didn’t take that path. Typically, he directed his energy toward a better place, which he summarized in a simple yet remarkable sentence: If I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I could accept it.

Izzeldin struggles for what he deeply believes in. He is dedicated to improving the environment he lives in by his own means, which is medicine. Albert Schweitzer, for example, may not have been the most acclaimed physician of his time, but through medicine he alerted the world to the suffering of Africans. He forced people to look at the African continent from a different angle and to understand what suffering is and what privileged people should do for the underprivileged. I strongly believe Schweitzer’s major contribution to medicine was not so much by helping thousands of Africans as by awakening us to fellow human beings who were less privileged. Florence Nightingale is another example. She devoted her life to nursing and to improving medical care for the poor, and she demonstrated what the humanitarian role of medicine is. She showed that caring comes before curing.

I believe that Izzeldin has shown so much passion and compassion and dedication to bettering the human condition that this alone already makes him an extraordinary physician. But he transcends medicine. For Izzeldin, medicine is the tool to help people better understand the problems of one another, to better communicate, to help us live together. The many women he has treated or delivered at Soroka, his many Israeli colleagues with whom he has shared stressful situations in a busy clinical setup, who have pitched in for him and for whom he has covered on other occasions, his superiors and peers—all have encountered in Izzeldin a Palestinian doctor from the Jabalia refugee camp who treats his patients with professionalism and compassion, who is an equal among equals, and who has become a friend. The Palestinian patients who come to Soroka have encountered Israeli doctors and nurses who treat them with compassion, according to their medical condition and not their origin. This is how medicine bridges the divide between people.

About ten years ago, Izzeldin was going to a medical conference in Cyprus. He left the Gaza Strip and got to the airport, but the authorities wouldn’t let him board his plane for security reasons. So he missed the flight. He only had a one-day travel permit, there wasn’t another flight until the next day, and he couldn’t stay at the airport. He was caught in a no-man’s-land. Most people I know would have been furious. He called me, and I called some people and made arrangements for him to catch the plane the next day. He came to our house to stay overnight, and I expected to greet a very angry man. He was humiliated, but to my surprise he was angry only at a specific clerk at the airport, an individual person, not the Israelis. That’s Izzeldin—he never gets carried away into making wholesale judgments. He simply said, That guy was not only inconsiderate, he was also misled. He behaved rudely because he did not understand.

Izzeldin doesn’t generalize the way most of us do. For example, you may go on vacation to Italy and have a terrible cab-driver and a nasty hotel clerk and come home speaking badly of all Italians. Izzeldin would never react that way. He caught the plane the next day. He dealt with a clerk who wasn’t looking for an excuse to punish an Arab, and he made it onto his flight.

Sometimes anger can be important, and people must be able to get angry. But Izzeldin directs his anger in a focused way, never spreading it wide and letting the anger overwhelm and distract him from where he should be going.

Under very tragic circumstances, Izzeldin has been pushed into the international spotlight. He has been interviewed by major newspapers, appeared on well-known TV shows, and met and talked to the leaders of the world. The amazing thing is that it hasn’t changed him a bit.

Lately, I sometimes hear people say that he’s too good to be true. Having lost his daughters, how can he still speak about peace and love and keep his Israeli friends? Some even wonder if he is taking advantage of this tragedy. But I have known him for many years, and I can attest that nothing could be further from the truth. His vision of coexistence is deep, strong, and consistent—unshaken even by a tragedy so enormous we have a hard time imagining how anyone could survive it. And still he moves on.

Izzeldin is now concentrating all his efforts on creating a foundation named after his dead daughters, aimed at promoting relationships between Jewish and Palestinian girls and contributing to their education, including the establishment of a school dedicated to this purpose. Wherever he goes, whomever he talks to these days, his main quest is finding ways to bridge the divide in our region. By now he has been able to touch many influential individuals with both his pain and his vision for the future, and I know he won’t let go; if there is any single person who can make this happen, he is that person. I can only hope he succeeds.

—Dr. Marek Glezerman, chairman of the Hospital for Women and deputy director of Rabin Medical Center, Israel (adapted from an interview with Sally Armstrong)

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 2006, 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

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  • (4/5)
    What an incredible story. I'd like to thank the author so much for sharing it. I'd also like to thank him for not giving up on humanity as he lived through it.

    I won't provide a complete summary of the book, you can read that elsewhere, but this is the true-life story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish who tells of his life in Gaza. His life of love and loss from his struggle to educate himself as a child, to gaining his degree in medicine, into fatherhood, to where his life is now. All of this while calling home a country whose borders are controlled by a government who hates him, just because he was born on the wrong side of that border.

    Whether or not you share his faith, or agree with his lifestyle, I hope we can all learn a lesson or two from Dr. Abuelaish, and perhaps also put into perspective some of our own struggles, frustrations, and anxieties.

    This is a First-Reads review of an ARC edition.
  • (3/5)
    Average writing. Abuelaish wrote the book with an obvious agenda, an admirable one—but probably because I was already 100% sympathetic with it, I didn't find it challenging or particularly interesting. I also have a hard time identifying with the author. He's a politician and sometimes he writes like one. (And how can he have eight children, and leave them for six months at a time?)
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    An inspirational book. The story of one man's journey from extreme poverty in a refugee camp in Gaza, and proceeding through determination and education and inconceivable family tragedy to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.He now travels the world to spread a message of love which may one day lead to peace between Israel and Palestine.That his experience has made him say "I shall not hate" is a lesson to us all.I particularly like his idea that it is through the empowering and education of womwn in the Middle East that peace will come.
  • (4/5)
    In this heartbreaking (yet strangely uplifting) memoir, Abuelaish relates his life—growing up in poverty in a Palestinian refugee camp, slaving so that he could raise enough money to go to medical school, and his rising career coincident with his growing family. Despite losing 3 daughters and a niece to an Israeli military action, Abuelaish preaches that love, not hate, is required to bring peace. Abuelaish’s story is engrossing and tragic, yet I couldn’t help but think about all of the suffering Palestinians who don’t have a voice. If life is so hard for someone who has powerful connections, what must it be like for those who have no one to help them? This is a must-read for people who think Palestinians are all about terrorism and throwing rocks—people who likely wouldn’t touch the book with a 10-foot pole. It’s also a fantastic read for someone who is sympathetic to both sides of the conflict, but who wants to hear a personal story. I DO wish I could read the story of someone who isn’t highly connected, but this is a fantastic start. And Abuelaish’s enduring message of love make a monumental memoir.
  • (4/5)
    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".
  • (5/5)
    Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor born in one of the refugee camps in the Gaza strip after his family decided it would be wisest to leave their family home in what is now part of Israel until the tensions died down. The family was never able to return to their home and Abuelaish grew up in the Gaza Strip, only leaving when he was older to study as a doctor in Egypt. This book was written following the tragic deaths of three of Abuelaish’s daughters and one of his nieces during the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip in 2009, just two days before a ceasefire was finally declared. Tragically, these young girls only died because they happened to be in the wrong room at the wrong time.Dr Abuelaish worked at an Israeli hospital which meant he was one of the few Gazans who had permission to travel outside the Gaza Strip and knew and worked with Israelis face to face. As one of the few people on either side of the conflict who had regular contact with both Israelis and Palestinians, Abuelaish had always worked to promote peace and understanding between the two sides and brought his children up to do the same. Although the tragic death of his family members is the reason why this book was written, Abuelaish’s account of his early life and the obstacles he and his family had to overcome for him to train and qualify as a doctor would still be a tale worthy of a book in its own right. But it’s his response to the death of his daughters and niece that has really made him know internationally (including a nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize) and that really impacts on reading this book.As the title of the book suggests, Abuelaish refuses to give in to hate following the death of his daughters.‘It is important to feel anger in the wake of events like this; anger that signals that you do not accept what has happened, that spurs you to make a difference. But you have to choose not to spiral into hate. All the desire for revenge and hatred does is drive away wisdom, increase sorrow, and prolong strife.’Abuelaish hasn’t tried to whitewash his reactions/emotions when writing this book. The day before his daughters died, Abuelaish notes that he lost his temper because of the chaos inside their home caused by 17 people staying inside one small apartment for so long. And that makes his decision not to give in to hate even more remarkable. I felt Abuelaish was another flawed human like me and not holding himself up to be a perfect person.Knowing what would happen, I actually had to put this book down for a while when I started to get to the point when I knew his daughters were about to die because I was finding it so emotional. But despite that I am so glad I read this book.I didn’t know a great deal about the history of the Palestinian-Israeli tensions before reading this book and I thought Abuelaish did a good job of explaining the background to the tensions and there’s also a good map of Israel and the Palestinian territories at the front of the book. Although Abuelaish is a Palestinian, I didn’t feel that his account of the tensions was biased. He’s clear throughout the book that both sides have suffered atrocious losses and both sides need to forgive and come to some sort of compromise if the violence is to stop.Highly recommended, I found this to be an incredibly moving memoir.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    What an inspiring story. I was close to tears at many points throughout this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in human rights, health, peace, tolerance, grief, the human spirit...
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    When you learn about the Arab-Israeli conflict you learn the facts and the two different peoples involved all seem to be the same on each side and have the same opinion about the other side. This is not the case and this book about a personal journey through life in Gaza really does help to understand that may people want to stop the violence and connect with each other an it is only a few extremists in power who are to blame for the deadlock. Full of positivity in the face of personal calamities, Izzeldin is definitely an inspiration. Sure a few points are repeated and laboured a little here but the message gets through and it is impressive that Izzeldin keeps believing that one day there will be a breakthrough. Important stuff here - if you want to know about the Middle East and the Arab - Israeli conflict then supplement your historical reading with this book.
  • (4/5)
    The "Gaza doctor" touched my heart. Not really knowing much about the Gaza Strip, I found this book to be educational and gut wrenching. If you want to read a book about a world we know little about, then read this book. You will see the world differently.
  • (5/5)
    I Shall Not Hate smashed away my preconceptions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I give it a clear five stars, not for its perfunctory three star delivery but for the powerhouse impact that it delivers in the final chapters when describing the death of the author's daughters. I Shall Not Hate opens a window into the world of Gaza that most of us probably don't even realize exists. With patient, matter of fact style, Abuelaish explains the extent to which Palestinians are deprived from the most basic human liberties like freedom to travel to a hospital. He has seen and suffered enough to warrant understandable hatred, yet as a doctor Abuelaish refuses to see monsters. "My core values, which are essentially medical, tell me that people are people."After three of his children and a niece are killed by the senseless shelling of his home by Israel, he writes: "We struggled together, my children and I, and I tried to respond to the chorus of people calling for Israeli blood to atone for the deaths of my girls. One said, 'Don’t you hate the Israelis?' Which Israelis am I supposed to hate? I replied. The doctors and nurses I work with? The ones who are tryng to save Ghaida’s life and Shatha’s eyesight? The babies I have delivered? Families like the Madmoonys who gave me work and shelter when I was a kid?"He backs up this attitude with practical and ground level solutions, including a liberal approach (for Palestinians) to empowering women, who he regards as essential for a peaceful future. Abuelaish was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’d vote for him.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Whether or not you have a particular interest in Palestine and Israel, I beg you, read this book. Dr. Abuelaish is a true inspiration in the struggle for peace in the area, a believer in education and health care and the value of women in society. I am devastated by his loss and amazed by his compassion.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    The author of this book has an amazing story. He grew up in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and against all odds and eventually graduates from medical school. He then works at a hospital in Israel, while continuing to live in Gaza and go through the checkpoints regularly. He loses his wife to leukemia and just over a month later three of his daughters and his niece are killed when Israeli tanks target their home. The author has so much tragedy in his life, but he retains hope through it all and never resorts to hate.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    What an eye-opener I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish was. This is the first book I have read by a Palestinian, not to mention one who was born and lived all his life in Gaza. Born to poverty in the internment camps, yet managing to educate himself and train as a doctor, this man is quite a role model. His cries of Peace, Brotherhood and Non-retaliation appear to fall on mostly deaf ears but, perhaps someday major advances will be made in regards to the plight of the Palestinian people.One of the things I most admire Dr. Abuelaish for is his stand on education for women. He feels this is one of the ways to bring the Palestine situation to a peaceful resolution. He is convinced that if women had some control we wouldn’t see as many advocates of war. He is putting his money where is mouth is as well by establishing an education fund in the name of his slain daughters and niece.Yes, this man has lost a lot. Three of his daughters and one niece were killed when a Israelis tank shot a missile into his home. Another daughter and niece were badly wounded. So many wrongs have been committed on both sides, yet, he still says that both sides should not dwell in the past. Moving on and laying the past to rest is the way to a sustainable future. Perhaps a naïve and over-simplified view, but I found this to be a very readable book about an admirable man, his family, his countrymen and his hope to see Israel and Palestine find the road to peaceful coexistence.
  • (4/5)
    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a man who we all should look up to. Despite the horrific and devastating loss of his daughters, he chooses not to hate. This story will shatter your heart and soul and put it back together again.
  • (4/5)
    "If I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss." This is the remarkable story of a doctor who grew up and lived in Gaza and his efforts to bring peace and understanding to his region through conversations and relationships with Israelis despite the deaths of three of his daughters from Israeli rockets. This is truly an eye opener of what it is like to live in Gaza and how hard it is to cross the border into Israel.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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!
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.