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

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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 be 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."


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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 be 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."

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Be warned, don't read this book in public. In spite of knowing what was coming I was unable to stop tearing up, or just outright crying. In fact, I had to take breaks in order to pull myself together. The book didn't grip me from the beginning but as I followed Izzeldin's story I became more and more awe-inspired by him. It wasn't just his attitude which, in itself, is extraordinary given his experiences, nor was it what he has achieved in spite of the obstacles in his way. It was his ability to Be warned, don't read this book in public. In spite of knowing what was coming I was unable to stop tearing up, or just outright crying. In fact, I had to take breaks in order to pull myself together. The book didn't grip me from the beginning but as I followed Izzeldin's story I became more and more awe-inspired by him. It wasn't just his attitude which, in itself, is extraordinary given his experiences, nor was it what he has achieved in spite of the obstacles in his way. It was his ability to take what has become a political situation and make it a human one that made his story so inspiring. I suspect that he is accused of oversimplifying a very convoluted situation with Israel and Palestine but that was the beauty of his approach. Breaking it down, making a difference "to this one starfish" at a time seems a real possibility. My mind is still buzzing. Strongly recommended no matter where you come from and no matter your level of interest in Middle Eastern politics. A truly human story. And I've never said this before in a review but Thank you.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greta G

    This is a very powerful memoir from a man who's life was affected in every single detail, by living in Gaza. He immerses the reader in his life-story, from his early childhood until his departure to Canada. On January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters Aya, Mayar and Bessan, and his niece Noor. (Mayar, Aya and Bessan) Despite the hardships and losses he and his family have gone through, he keeps believing in peace and rejects violence, hatr This is a very powerful memoir from a man who's life was affected in every single detail, by living in Gaza. He immerses the reader in his life-story, from his early childhood until his departure to Canada. On January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters Aya, Mayar and Bessan, and his niece Noor. (Mayar, Aya and Bessan) Despite the hardships and losses he and his family have gone through, he keeps believing in peace and rejects violence, hatred and revenge. Devastating but highly recommended. More about the shelling : https://youtu.be/8nYof-8_uWg More about dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee : http://publicpeaceprize.org/2014-laur... http://nsb.com/speakers/dr-izzeldin-a... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011... http://tedxwaterloo.com/speaker/abuel... http://www.theguardian.com/profile/iz...

  3. 4 out of 5

    ~Bookishly~

    I have only one regret with this book. I wish I had read it sooner. For one to say that this memoir is powerful, is entirely an understatement. This memoir stirred my soul and managed to shatter my heart into a thousand pieces. This memoir is told by a man called Izzeldin Abuelaish, and he tells us all about his life in Gaza, in an intricate, and a rather personal detail. Throughout his life, we learn of the hardships, the loss and the utter devastation that he and his family suffer. Even after l I have only one regret with this book. I wish I had read it sooner. For one to say that this memoir is powerful, is entirely an understatement. This memoir stirred my soul and managed to shatter my heart into a thousand pieces. This memoir is told by a man called Izzeldin Abuelaish, and he tells us all about his life in Gaza, in an intricate, and a rather personal detail. Throughout his life, we learn of the hardships, the loss and the utter devastation that he and his family suffer. Even after losing four of his family members after his house is shelled, he strongly rejects revenge and hatred, and instead, promotes peace. It takes a strong being to be able to do that, and I have such respect and admiration for him, as I'm not entirely sure, that I could do the same.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen.s

    I stayed up till 3:30 am reading this book, tears soaking my pillow. I was watching live on Israeli tv when he was interviewed as half his family was wiped out in an accidental mistargeting of a missile from an Israeli tank in the Gaza war of 2008-2009. It was blood-curdling and something I won't forget. This man has every reason to hate Israelis but doesn't due to his own strong, unshakeable convictions. He is inspiring not only for his belief in peace no matter what happens but his tenacity in I stayed up till 3:30 am reading this book, tears soaking my pillow. I was watching live on Israeli tv when he was interviewed as half his family was wiped out in an accidental mistargeting of a missile from an Israeli tank in the Gaza war of 2008-2009. It was blood-curdling and something I won't forget. This man has every reason to hate Israelis but doesn't due to his own strong, unshakeable convictions. He is inspiring not only for his belief in peace no matter what happens but his tenacity in following his dreams no matter what. There were sections of this book I simply couldn't read yet: descriptions of his dead daughters' personalities that were just too raw. I didn't want to float out of bed in a sea of tears. Sometime I'll read them as that's a beautiful tribute. The reason I give the book four stars has nothing to do with the doctor's story: that can't be judged. This is a literary review and as such, I did find one flaw. That is that some sections seemed to be repeated if not in exactly the same words, then very similar. What was repeated was his conviction and belief that hatred is a choice and a self-destructive one. It is an important point, but it doesn't need to be repeated several times. This book should be required reading by everyone who has the slightest interest in the Israeli-Arab conflict or in humanity itself. Comment | Permalink

  5. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    You read a book like Abuelaish’s and you can’t help but feel humbled — and maybe a little ashamed…ashamed because if everyone — you included — could even be a little like Abuelaish, then maybe the world would be a better place. Abuelaish, also known as “the Gaza doctor,” put a face to the struggles of life on the Gaza Strip when, on January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home and killed three of his daughters and a niece. This memoir, he writes, is part-memoir and part-plea — a plea that his dau You read a book like Abuelaish’s and you can’t help but feel humbled — and maybe a little ashamed…ashamed because if everyone — you included — could even be a little like Abuelaish, then maybe the world would be a better place. Abuelaish, also known as “the Gaza doctor,” put a face to the struggles of life on the Gaza Strip when, on January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home and killed three of his daughters and a niece. This memoir, he writes, is part-memoir and part-plea — a plea that his daughters and niece be the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. This is a heartbreaking, yet hopeful, memoir. Abuelaish poignantly tells of his life as a Palestinian doctor born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza strip, where he grew up against all struggles to become an infertility specialist living in Gaza but working in Israeli hospitals. His life has been marked with tragedies — shortly before his daughters and niece were senselessly killed (the Israeli government has, to date, yet to apologize or compensate him like they claimed they would), Abuelaish’s wife died of leukemia. When he describes the heartache and pain he endured crisscrossing the border (his wife was brought to a hospital in Israel, where she quickly succumbed to her illness; her children were denied entry into Israel and remained in Gaza and never had the chance to properly say their goodbyes to their mother), you can’t help but wonder how he refused to succumb to rage. Abuelaish’s message of peace and cooperation and mutual respect is nothing short of admirable and inspiring. He remains calm in the face of those poisoned by hatred and continues to promote his message of peace even when people aren’t interested in listening. This was one of the better books I’ve had the privilege of reading in the last little while. It was difficult to read — particularly the part where he describes what happened on the day his daughters were killed. I was reading this one the subway and I had to put it down a couple of times to compose myself because I felt the familiar prick of tears starting to well up. This is definitely a book that needs to be read in every school in both Israel and within the Gaza Strip.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zak

    From a literary perspective, I would rate this autobiography a 3.5 but this man is so remarkable and his message so important that I'm going to give it 5.0* anyway. I really hope he will get to see the fruits of his patience, perseverance, love and forgiveness during his lifetime. From a literary perspective, I would rate this autobiography a 3.5 but this man is so remarkable and his message so important that I'm going to give it 5.0* anyway. I really hope he will get to see the fruits of his patience, perseverance, love and forgiveness during his lifetime.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Raheleh Abbasinejad

    I am glad that I had a chance to read this book, but honestly, I did not like the author and his attitudes. I found him too selfish, a bit unreliable, and politically ignorant and even maybe too rational, and unfortunately, this rationality highly affected his judgments and opinions. I think he could not grasp Gazan's long-term feelings of being oppressed, thus could not interpret their reactions fairly. I am not only talking about his views about Gaza, but see the way he treated his wife, who w I am glad that I had a chance to read this book, but honestly, I did not like the author and his attitudes. I found him too selfish, a bit unreliable, and politically ignorant and even maybe too rational, and unfortunately, this rationality highly affected his judgments and opinions. I think he could not grasp Gazan's long-term feelings of being oppressed, thus could not interpret their reactions fairly. I am not only talking about his views about Gaza, but see the way he treated his wife, who was sacrificed just to let her husband reach his dreams, the same way he treated Gaza and Hamas and resistance, and how he excused everything like being late to his wife's deathbed by saying that his wife wanted him to go on his trip. He talked in a way that he could not see how people hurt over years of oppression. He was trying to say that people and Palestinian authority have to find a way to live together (who does not want that?), but the problem is that nor did he offer any solution to do so. I might be totally wrong about his character in reality but in the book, I did not find him the right person to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict. There was a scene, in which he was running for an election, and he clearly said:" lots of people were going to vote for me and I was going to win," and then after being defeated, he just avoid giving any explanation why he lost, if he was so sure he would win? Do you want me to accept the opinions of someone who does not even have a clear analysis of his own campaign's results? Overall, I am looking forward to reading more on this matter and hope to find reliable resources.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kaylene

    Absolutely incredible. EVERYONE should read this book. The world needs more people like Izzeldin Abuelaish - a truly amazing man.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    During the Gaza siege Shlomi Eldar a news caster on Israeli television interviewed a fertility expert from Gaza. Live and on air the viewer had the window of opportunity to see and experience Palestinian pain. Live and on the air over a cell phone a doctor from Gaza recounted how an Israeli tank fired a shell that smashed through the wall of this doctor's house killing his three daughters and niece. Shlomi Eldar could not hang up the fun and excused himself from the newscast. Backstage he contac During the Gaza siege Shlomi Eldar a news caster on Israeli television interviewed a fertility expert from Gaza. Live and on air the viewer had the window of opportunity to see and experience Palestinian pain. Live and on the air over a cell phone a doctor from Gaza recounted how an Israeli tank fired a shell that smashed through the wall of this doctor's house killing his three daughters and niece. Shlomi Eldar could not hang up the fun and excused himself from the newscast. Backstage he contacted the Israeli Defense Forces to get help for the his friend the doctor. The video is shown a over youtube. Who was this doctor Abuelish that his home should be shelled by an Israeli tank? Was he a wanted Hamas terrorist? A Fatah soldier? Far from it he was a peace loving fertility doctor who treated both Israeli and Palestinian patients with equal care and professionalism. His Israeli colleagues spoke highly of him and admired his dedication to his profession and patients. Dr. Abuelish believed in peace, love, brotherhood and humanity. He believes in a two state solution and in equal honor and respect for both Israelis and Palestinians. Izzeldin Abuelish was born and raised in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza. His family voluntarily left their native village in the Negev and settled in the Gaza strip. His father met his second wife on the way and divorced his first wife but left her well provided for. Izzeldin worked selling eggs and other good in order to make money for his family to survive. Before the first intifada broke out he held jobs working on Israeli Moshavs and farms building Chicken coops. It was while working in Israel that he formed relationships with Israelis and he found out they were not the monsters he had always believed they were. While growing up his mother Dalal forced him to study and take his studies carefully. She was rather forceful about it and to this day the good doctor is greatful. Education was the key to escaping poverty. Dr. Izzeldin travelled abroad and received degrees both in Israel and abroad. It is through the medical profession that he sought to build bridges between Israeli Jews and PALESTINIANS. Life in Gaza has always been a struggle especially after the second intifada. Dr. Abuelish describes his experience crossing over Israeli checkpoints and the degrading experience that many Palestinians receive at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Thaks to check points and searches journeys that should be not more than a half an hour end up taking half the day. Modern day life in Gaza is a prison with Egypt shut completely off and Israeli war ships monitoring the water a mile and a half off the coast nothing gets in or out without Israeli approval. Often times food and vital medicine is blocked and the only way to get this material is though smugglers tunnels which are routinely blocked or bombed. Trying to travel around is difficult for Palestinians and that is an understatement. Life in Gaza is one of deprivation. There is rubble and destroyed building everywhere. Open sewers flow through the streets and people are packed in quarters like sardines. Izzeldin Abuelish was dedicated to peace before his daughters and niece perished in the attack and he remains dedicated to peace. His daughters attended peace camps in the US making friends with other Israeli teenager. The experience was profound, both Israelis and Palestinians learned to over come their trust issues and see the other as humans just like they are. Dr. Abuelish has since formed an organization called "Daughters for Life" The organization is dedicated towards peace and bettering he life of Palestinians. I give this book five stars. Well written with great attention given to details. Dr. Abuelsih looks with a critical eye at both sides and objectively sees the flaws and good points within them both. He is truly a worker for peace.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    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 tel 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mj

    Heartwarming, inspirational book. My Solo Opinion I Shall Not Hate was writen by Dr. Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who lost 3 daughters and a niece in a bombing on his home in the Gaza strip. The book is an effort to reach out and make something positive out of such a tragedy. Throughout his medical career Dr. Abuelaish has continued to live in Palestine but much of his work is in Israel, alongside Israeli doctors. Dr. Abuelaish has come to learn that we are all human and part of the same univer Heartwarming, inspirational book. My Solo Opinion I Shall Not Hate was writen by Dr. Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor who lost 3 daughters and a niece in a bombing on his home in the Gaza strip. The book is an effort to reach out and make something positive out of such a tragedy. Throughout his medical career Dr. Abuelaish has continued to live in Palestine but much of his work is in Israel, alongside Israeli doctors. Dr. Abuelaish has come to learn that we are all human and part of the same universe. Rather than seek revenge and become consumed by hatred, Dr. Abuelaish has taken the opportunity of this tragedy to accept and forgive and to speak about peace and outreach and for all of humanity to live in harmony as the human family. Recommended for insight into the Israeli/Palestinian warring over the Gaza Strip. Also recommended for everyone interested in world peace. The book and the actions of Dr. Abuelaish are truly inspirational. Book Club Post Script In December 2013 this was a book club selection. I was expecting that everyone would love the book like I did. Surprise!! Surprise!! There was lots of discussion and the likes and dislikes were split. Those who were favourable liked what I liked about the book - Abuelaish's courage, principles, drive, commitment and focus. The negatives were about the politics in the book, some thought it had an agenda and was a bit of propaganda, more pro Lebanese and anti Israeli or that the book was too violent and full of abuse of power and said they had a preference for more pleasant books to read in their leisure time before sleeping. I thought, as did some others that the author was courageous, made a difference and involved his family in the decision to stay in Lebanon to improve the situation. I like others was very proud that he chose to move to Canada to live to continue his work in medicine and peace. Others however were highly critical of his staying in Lebanon, feeling that he should have put his family's safety first and got them out of Lebanon much earlier so they would still be alive. There was definitely a very lively book club discussion which surprised me. I would say it was an excellent book club choice for this reason.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mish

    No words can describe the horrific events this man had to endure and witness. Yet to come out of it all with hope, compassion and understanding for the future of the Palestinians and Israelis is just inspiring. Izzeldin is a remarkable man. Highly recommend it

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lameche

    It's 1.09am. I am sat here tears streaming down my face. After reading this book I have just watched the video of Izzeldins tragic phone call captured on TV just after his 3 children and niece had been killed when his house was fired on. Then the bodies carried away to be buried. Heartbreaking is not a strong enough word to use. I am in awe of this man. He had spent his life trying to make a better life not just for himself, but for Palestine. All he has ever believed in is the hope of bringing p It's 1.09am. I am sat here tears streaming down my face. After reading this book I have just watched the video of Izzeldins tragic phone call captured on TV just after his 3 children and niece had been killed when his house was fired on. Then the bodies carried away to be buried. Heartbreaking is not a strong enough word to use. I am in awe of this man. He had spent his life trying to make a better life not just for himself, but for Palestine. All he has ever believed in is the hope of bringing peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. At one point when the military said they had fired on his house because armed people were in there, Izzeldin says "my daughters were armed with love, with hope, with education, with work for peace." I have to be honest my heart would only be filled with hate and revenge if this happened to my family. I can honestly say I do not know to what extremes I would go to if I had suffered like he. But not this man. He uses this horrific attack, this murder, to try again to get his message across. That there must be peace. How dare I sit here in the safety of my home and bemoan that i cant afford a big house, or have no car. Or see the wrinkles appearing and grey hairs and feel sad that I am getting older. How lucky I am that I have lived and am still living. That my daughter and husband sleep soundly upstairs. I really have no idea how lucky I am. I think I appreciate life but I don't. Not like I should. This man humbles me. I wish everyone would read this book and see the videos. I wish people would open their minds and look to the future and not the past. I fear his dream will never happen. That there will never be peace. If only there where more people like him then I believe that peace would become a reality. I pray for him and for his family. The children left who have to live with what happened. Who have to try to build a future. They have suffered. I pray with all my heart that one day their suffering will end. Most of all, I pray for peace. Please visit the Daughters for Life foundation: http://daughtersforlife.com/devdfl201...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell

    Certainly an amazing memoir; a story that does not leave you. Dr. Abuelaish deftly and clearly explains how his refusal to hate the soldiers who fired upon his home, killing three of his daughters, a niece and injuring other children stems from his upbringing. Born into a Gazan refugee camp, he knows only poverty, injustice and humiliation. Yet, through his parents' support and determination to receive a solid education, Izzeldin works to earn high marks and admission to Cairo University to beco Certainly an amazing memoir; a story that does not leave you. Dr. Abuelaish deftly and clearly explains how his refusal to hate the soldiers who fired upon his home, killing three of his daughters, a niece and injuring other children stems from his upbringing. Born into a Gazan refugee camp, he knows only poverty, injustice and humiliation. Yet, through his parents' support and determination to receive a solid education, Izzeldin works to earn high marks and admission to Cairo University to become a doctor. This book reveals the realities of the Palestinian crises, but it is not a tirade against the Israelis. Abuelaish is determined to spread his message that the only way for this conflict to end is through commmunication, not hatred or revenge.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jan Rice

    After reading this book in 2011, I wrote about it in my blog. I went on at great length and subjected the book to much analysis. The bottom line, though, is that he is truly a peace activist. Kudos for his courage in writing this book. It sometimes seems moderates are an endangered species. Here's my link; put up your feet and get comfortable as it'll take a while. http://janetrice.blogspot.com/2011_06... (Date completed is approximate.) After reading this book in 2011, I wrote about it in my blog. I went on at great length and subjected the book to much analysis. The bottom line, though, is that he is truly a peace activist. Kudos for his courage in writing this book. It sometimes seems moderates are an endangered species. Here's my link; put up your feet and get comfortable as it'll take a while. http://janetrice.blogspot.com/2011_06... (Date completed is approximate.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is so powerful because of Dr. Abueliash's determination not to hate Israelis, despite the death of his daughters and his constant struggles. It's definitely an eye opener to what life in Gaza is like. This book is so powerful because of Dr. Abueliash's determination not to hate Israelis, despite the death of his daughters and his constant struggles. It's definitely an eye opener to what life in Gaza is like.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bryan

    A tragic story but great swathes of this book are mind-numbingly repetitive and dare I say indulgent.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David P

    This is a raw and emotional autobiography, well written by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, born and raised in a Gaza a refugee camp. Here are insights into the life experienced in and around Gaza, "a time bomb in the process of imploding," and also into the author's own life as a scrupulous and dedicated physician. For most people of Gaza, life is festering poverty while hemmed between Israeli barbed wire and Hamas guns, and the title concisely describes the author's own creed. The long introduction to This is a raw and emotional autobiography, well written by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, born and raised in a Gaza a refugee camp. Here are insights into the life experienced in and around Gaza, "a time bomb in the process of imploding," and also into the author's own life as a scrupulous and dedicated physician. For most people of Gaza, life is festering poverty while hemmed between Israeli barbed wire and Hamas guns, and the title concisely describes the author's own creed. The long introduction to the book is by Dr. Marek Glezerman, a leading Israeli physician with whom Abuelaish often worked. Izzedin was born in 1955 in the Jabalia refugee camp, six miles from the site of the village of Houge (or Huj) where his family once was a leading clan. His family escaped to Gaza from the battle between Egypt and Israel (more about that war, here) and then found it was unable to return. Today that same site is occupied by the Israeli town of Sderoth. Against the odds, Abuelaish stubbornly lifted himself above the widespread misery of Gaza. Urged to serious study by persistent mother Dalal, and contributing to the support of his family by manual labor even while still in school, he graduated successfully and received a scholarship to study medicine at the Cairo university. He graduated in 1983 in obstetrics and gynecology, and then practiced in Gaza, saving lives and treating infertility. Later he continued his studies in Italy and at Harvard, gained experience in managing public health, and served on temporary posts in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. But he always returned to Gaza, to his roots, helping his relatives there build a shared home. Medicine can be a network stretching across borders. Seriously ill patients in Gaza were often treated in Israel, and through such ties Abuelaish formed friendships with Israeli doctors, at times working at Israeli hospitals, learning Hebrew and trying to create mutual understanding. He also found friends in Israel's press. He wrote: "As a physician who has practiced in Israel and Gaza, I see medicine as the bridge between us, just as education and friendship have been bridges. We all know what to do, so who is stopping us? Who is holding up the barrier between our two sides? We need to reach each other by embracing one another's realities, sending messages of tolerance rather than intolerance and healing instead of hate." Though he has many friends and supporters in Gaza, he failed badly as independent candidate for the elected assembly, facing local control by El-Fatah and a well-organized campaign by upstart Hamas. He was left with a large debt, one reason he took the job in Afghanistan. In that election Hamas won a majority, and in a short all-out war it soon ejected El-Fatah from Gaza and set itself up there as the only government. This story, unfortunately, does not end happily. Because Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, its soldiers have sporadically launched home-built rockets against Sderoth and other settlements, and at one time launched a meticulous raid across the border to seize a random hostage, still being held. With all its militancy, Hamas only managed to inflict limited harm on Israel, which reacted by choking traffic of both people and goods across the Gaza border. However, rockets with greater range and other arms found their way to Hamas (probably from Egypt) and that finally drove Israel at the end of 2008 to an all-out attack on the "Gaza strip." Israeli tanks and troops crossed the border, Hamas fighters melted away, and for a while Israel's army controlled the territory, though in the end it declined to occupy it and withdrew. This was primarily a guerrilla war, and over 1000 Gaza Arabs died, many of them civilians. Somewhere in the middle of the fight an Israeli tank fired a shell into the Abuelaish home, hitting the floor where Izzeldin's family was sheltered. Later the army claimed it was responding to a sniper firing from the building, but no evidence was ever shown. The shell instantly killed three teen-age daughters of the author--Bessan, Aya and Mayar--and also their niece Noor, who stayed with them. The book is dedicated to those girls. It expresses the grief of Izzedin, now working in Canada, and is a memorial to their lives. It all happened in a loud flash--a sudden explosion, then blood, dust, the the bodies of the girls and several other badly wounded children. As neighbors pitched in to carry the wounded to a hospital, Abuelaish used his cell phone to call a friend at Israel's TV, Shlomi Eldar. Here is the story Shlomi later told: "It was five on Friday afternoon, and I was doing the news when I saw Izzeldin's name come up on the screen of my mobile phone. I was live on the air so I didn't answer the call. We were about to do an interview with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and the introduction had already begun when I saw his name come up on my mobile again and I made the decision to take the call live on air. I told the viewing audience that we had something very important coming in and pushed the telephone speaker button and held the mobile phone up so the viewer could see it. I think my director wondered what on earth I was doing taking a phone call in the middle of a live news broadcast. Izzeldin was incredibly distraught and repeated what I heard later on my voice mail: "They shelled my house. They killed my daughters. What have we done?" I can't tell you how extraordinary this was--it's not something a news anchor ever does--to take a call in the middle of a show. I was all the time wondering if this was the wrong thing to do at the same time as I was listening in abject horror to what he was saying. Then I heard my editor's voice in my earpiece saying "Move the telephone closer to the microphone." The conversation that followed was heartbreaking. He kept crying "Oh God, they killed my daughters, Shlomi, I wanted to save them, but they are dead. They died on the spot. Allah, what have we done to them? Oh God." His surviving children were screaming when I asked Izzedin where he lived. He was sobbing. "No one can get to us. Oh Shlomi, oh God, oh Allah, my daughters are dead." He told me the roads were closed and that they couldn't move towards the border. I asked him which junction the house was near. He told me and I said on air, "If anyone hears us in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), call the Zimmo junction. Maybe some of the wounded can still be saved." I wondered if we could ask for a cease fire and get an ambulance to come. All this was live on air." You can watch that video on You-Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnEe2N... , which also has links to other videos about the author. If it is ever removed from the web, just type "Abuelaish" into a search engine and find its current location. Watch it! And then read the book itself, it tells much more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Florence Millo

    I Shall not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish This is a difficult book to read, to think about, and to write about. I am a well-educated professional woman and it was like a bucket of cold water being poured over my head to realize how ignorant I was concerning the Palestinians, their history, and their living conditions. There are so many things about Dr. Abuelaish's life that are just inconceivable. He was born in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip into grinding poverty that to the average pe I Shall not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish This is a difficult book to read, to think about, and to write about. I am a well-educated professional woman and it was like a bucket of cold water being poured over my head to realize how ignorant I was concerning the Palestinians, their history, and their living conditions. There are so many things about Dr. Abuelaish's life that are just inconceivable. He was born in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip into grinding poverty that to the average person is just inconceivable. Through work, luck, and determination that the only way out of the poverty and the only way to help the Palestinian people was through education. He determined early on to study medicine. Encouragement from teachers and his mother helped fuel his determination. He graduated from the University of Cairo with a medical degree. The book presents the daily frustrations and humiliations encountered by every Palestinian every day. I had no idea how incredibly difficult just daily survival is for the Palestinians. He explains the circumstances leading up to the first and second intifada. I could barely contain myself as he told of the terrible day when his 3 daughters were killed by an Israeli rocket. The most incredible thing is that he refuses to fall into the cycle of revenge. He still insists that the government of Israel is not representative of the Israeli people and that the two people can live together side by side. He is now living with his remaining children in Canada. I think I would have taken my family out of Gaza long before he did. A difficult book to read but well worth it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Arundhati Deosthale

    I reviewed this extremely inspiring book which has a message for world peace. Dr Abulaish has had such a challenging life full of personal losses. Anybody could have turned cynictaking on relentless advesities. But he keeps the hope alive and now works for supporting young women to grow and educate themselves...Strongly recommended !

  21. 4 out of 5

    Penny Hill

    Essential reading. I only have praise. I should have known more about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I do now although of course from the authors perspective. A book full of horror,despair and a man determined to find a way for medicine to bridge the divide. He remains hopeful despite devastating loss. He is an inspiration and shares his message with the world. To hear the live call he makes to a TV studio the moment a bomb devastates and kills his family is heart breaking. The poverty he des Essential reading. I only have praise. I should have known more about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. I do now although of course from the authors perspective. A book full of horror,despair and a man determined to find a way for medicine to bridge the divide. He remains hopeful despite devastating loss. He is an inspiration and shares his message with the world. To hear the live call he makes to a TV studio the moment a bomb devastates and kills his family is heart breaking. The poverty he describes growing up in Gaza is powerful and the impact of border control is almost unbelievable. I have spent time looking up references to Izzeldin and will definitely watch his Ted talk online. This is definitely a must read and should be required reading in schools.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paulo

    A terribly sad story of the life of one Palestinian doctor in Gaza and the pain he has endured, but above all a wonderful story of love, hope and peace in the face of the desperation. This book is a book about humanity, about forgiving and about believing in the most wonderful thing of all, peace and love between two people, even when reality is harsh. A story about the Israeli - Palestinian conflict which should be read by all, and which, for a change, only takes the side of hope and peace. I r A terribly sad story of the life of one Palestinian doctor in Gaza and the pain he has endured, but above all a wonderful story of love, hope and peace in the face of the desperation. This book is a book about humanity, about forgiving and about believing in the most wonderful thing of all, peace and love between two people, even when reality is harsh. A story about the Israeli - Palestinian conflict which should be read by all, and which, for a change, only takes the side of hope and peace. I really enjoyed the book from cover to cover. It makes you, at once, cry for Izzeldin's fate, and smile and be happy that not even that could set him apart from his main goal, Peace.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nic Radvany

    It's hard to believe that the author lost three daughters and a niece to an Israeli tank shell during the Gaza War and emerged from this disaster preaching forgiveness. Israel and Palestine need more people like Izzeldin Abuelaish to help them move beyond the vicious circle of hate, violence, and revenge that has been blocking attempts at civilized co-existence for generations. At this point, the so-called leaders need to step aside and give the people on both sides a chance to come together and It's hard to believe that the author lost three daughters and a niece to an Israeli tank shell during the Gaza War and emerged from this disaster preaching forgiveness. Israel and Palestine need more people like Izzeldin Abuelaish to help them move beyond the vicious circle of hate, violence, and revenge that has been blocking attempts at civilized co-existence for generations. At this point, the so-called leaders need to step aside and give the people on both sides a chance to come together and forge a lasting peace.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Nagykery

    If you want to understand why there is so much violence in the Middle East and what the roots of terrorism and oppression are, you must read this book. It is not so much a history of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, although you will learn a lot about that also, but book about having hope in spite of enormous personal loss. Dr. Izzeldin Abueliash’s words resonate with truth and integrity. If you are like me, you will find solutions to many of the troubles you face from the wisdom If you want to understand why there is so much violence in the Middle East and what the roots of terrorism and oppression are, you must read this book. It is not so much a history of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, although you will learn a lot about that also, but book about having hope in spite of enormous personal loss. Dr. Izzeldin Abueliash’s words resonate with truth and integrity. If you are like me, you will find solutions to many of the troubles you face from the wisdom of this astonishing book. It will make you weep and then bring you back into harmony with life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zoran

    Horrible tragedy aside, this man, according to his own account, never had self-doubts, or held anger toward occupiers, or have been misled in his beliefs even as a youth. I find it hard to swallow, especially since he is also an aspiring politician. He is either a saint, or a lier - and I don't believe in saints. Horrible tragedy aside, this man, according to his own account, never had self-doubts, or held anger toward occupiers, or have been misled in his beliefs even as a youth. I find it hard to swallow, especially since he is also an aspiring politician. He is either a saint, or a lier - and I don't believe in saints.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Although this was a very difficult story to read-painful, gut-wrenching and heartbreaking-I am so glad I read it. We need to know this story, which is tragically a story shared by many. The marvel is that is is also a story of forgiveness and hope.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim B

    I had this on my "to read" list since the book was published but finally decided that it was important to read this book now, when American society is being torn apart by angry disagreements and charges of deception, dishonesty and corruption on every side. I had a slightly inaccurate understanding of what this book was. I expected Dr Abuelaish to deliver an extended essay on why hatred doesn't work and why peace and justice are necessary. I also pictured Dr Abuelaish to be more of a lecturer th I had this on my "to read" list since the book was published but finally decided that it was important to read this book now, when American society is being torn apart by angry disagreements and charges of deception, dishonesty and corruption on every side. I had a slightly inaccurate understanding of what this book was. I expected Dr Abuelaish to deliver an extended essay on why hatred doesn't work and why peace and justice are necessary. I also pictured Dr Abuelaish to be more of a lecturer through the book, someone who had arrived at an understanding that might teach me something new. The book is (as advertized) his telling of his life as a Palestinian who lived in Gaza and served in Israel as a medical physician specializing in fertility issues, but treating patients at a leading hospital in Jerusalem. He admits that he gets angry and impatient - he is not a plaster saint who lovingly smiles at maddeningly senseless bureaucracy and abuse. However, he is motivated by his Muslim faith to strive to live a life of peace and service to others regardless of nationality. When asked, "Do you hate Israelis because of what they have done to your family and your people, he asks, "Which Israelis should I hate? The ones who provide medical care for my family? My colleagues at the hospital who help me? The Israeli children who I helped bring into the world?" His point is that blanket hatred and condemnation is pointless and even harmful. However, he documents plenty of evil and doesn't let history ignore the wrongs that have been done to him and his family. It is a book worth reading. I have not followed Israeli / Palestinian relations. That aspect of our world is also important to know. But the biggest benefit of reading a book like this is to recognize the pattern of hatred that leads to war and injustice, because it is in our hearts and we have to fight it in ourselves and in our society. In many ways, Izzeldin Abuelaish is not a unique man - I'm sure there's a temptation to make him heroic. I think he is an incredibly wise man because he has suffered great injustice without losing sight of what is right.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rasha Nasri

    This isn't just a book - this is a gift from Dr Abuelaish. I'm not one to cry easily, but this story of resilience and love in the face of so much political evil and hatred feels like drowning in emotion while somehow, paradoxically, taking a breath of fresh air. Dr Abuelaish's message of love, understanding, compromise is beautiful and important of its own accord, but made even more vital when you realize that it's coming from someone who has so much reason to hate, yet still chooses to love an This isn't just a book - this is a gift from Dr Abuelaish. I'm not one to cry easily, but this story of resilience and love in the face of so much political evil and hatred feels like drowning in emotion while somehow, paradoxically, taking a breath of fresh air. Dr Abuelaish's message of love, understanding, compromise is beautiful and important of its own accord, but made even more vital when you realize that it's coming from someone who has so much reason to hate, yet still chooses to love and fight for peace through understanding.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Robinson

    I think this book is one of the most important I have read in the last few years. If you want to understand the real human toll of war and conflict, this book doesn't cut corners, and it will be an important book to me for years to come. I think this book is one of the most important I have read in the last few years. If you want to understand the real human toll of war and conflict, this book doesn't cut corners, and it will be an important book to me for years to come.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deema

    I normally don't like giving books 5 stars unless they've resonated with me months after I've finished them, or if the ending is particularly impressive. In this case, I knew what the book would be about and I already knew how it would end. But knowing that didn't affect my appreciation of this book. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is such an inspiring person who had to endure a tough childhood growing up in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He had to work endless hours as a child to earn every I normally don't like giving books 5 stars unless they've resonated with me months after I've finished them, or if the ending is particularly impressive. In this case, I knew what the book would be about and I already knew how it would end. But knowing that didn't affect my appreciation of this book. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is such an inspiring person who had to endure a tough childhood growing up in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He had to work endless hours as a child to earn every grain of rice on his plate, and even then remembers always being hungry and never having enough to eat. He studied hard and went through hell and back to become the respected doctor he is today, despite all the difficulties and humiliation involved: spending hours crossing the Erez border to get to Israel for work, being discriminated against purely for being a Palestinian, and being away from his family 5 days a week so he could earn enough money to provide for them. He's been through endless pain and suffering in his life, from being held up for hours by the Israeli border police and being barred from crossing when his wife was on her deathbed just miles away, to witnessing the murder of his three daughters and niece by IDF bombs a few months later. Yet despite everything he went through, he never let hatred take over his life. He describes hate as a chronic disease that needs to be eradicated, and explains the need for people to come together in unity rather than spend fruitless years hating each other. This message, when espoused in the context of his life and endless struggle, carries a lot of weight to it. If a man who has been through as much as Dr. Abuelaish has yet still finds it in his heart to forgive and communicate with the other side, then what excuse do we have? I didn't think I would get anything out of this book, since I started it thinking I knew exactly what it would be about, but I was wrong. This book has opened my eyes and made me truly understand that the conflict will never come to an end if we are constantly picking sides. Communication, unity, and co-existence are the only way forward. Thank you, Dr. Izzeldin, for spreading your message of peace.

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