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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daughters For Life

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity
Izzeldin Abuelaish, Walker & Company; 1 edition
(January 4, 2011)

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.

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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