I Shall Not Hate, by Izzeldin Abuelaish

“Let my daughters be the last to die. Let this tragedy open the eyes of the world.  Let us ask each other, ‘Where are we going?  What are we doing?’  It’s time we sat down and talked to each other.”

Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian physician who lives in Gaza and who works in an Israeli hospital.  In this magnificent book, he chronicles the difficulties of those who live in Gaza, from lack of water and civic works to massive restrictions on movement to the physical dangers of the violence that is perpetrated on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

As the above quote implies, Abuelaish’s three daughters and his niece all perished when his home was struck by shells from an Israeli tank. He says, “Anger is fine, but we must all find the inner strength not to hate.” This remarkable man is not blind to the violence that is committed and sustained by his own people and how that violence affects those in Israel.  But he also clearly and careful documents that there is hatred and violence on the other side as well.  And that the violence and the hatred that is engendered by this violence must cease.

In his Epilogue, Abuelaish states, “This book is also about freedom. We all must work toward freedom from disease, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and hatred.  In one horrifying year, my family and I faced tragedies that mountains cannot bear.  But as a Muslim with deep faith, I fully believe that what is from God is for good and what is bad is man-made and can be prevented or changed.”

May all of us, Muslim, Christian and Jew, come to this same understanding, and with that understanding become committed to work for freedom.

—Jeanie Smith

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