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I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey [Hardcover]

Izzeldin Abuelaish
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 27 2010
"What can you do? You can do a lot. You can support justice for all by speaking out loudly to your family, friends, community, politicians and religious leaders. You can support foundations that do good work. You can volunteer for humanitarian organizations. You can vote regressive politicians out of office. You can do many things to move the world toward greater harmony…

"I know that what I have lost, what was taken from me, will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey."
-from I Shall Not Hate

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish - now known simply as "the Gaza doctor" captured hearts and headlines around the world in the aftermath of horrific tragedy: on January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters and a niece.

By turns inspiring and heartbreaking, hopeful and horrifying, this is Abuelaish's account of a Gazan life in all its struggle and pain. A Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Abuelaish is an infertility specialist who lived in Gaza but plied his specialty in Israeli hospitals. From the strip of land he calls home (a place where 1.5 million refugees are crammed into 360 square kilometres of land), the Gaza doctor has been crossing the lines that divide the region for most of his life, as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the border and as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved public health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East.

But it was Abuelaish's response to the loss of his children that made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, in this personal account of his life, Izzeldin Abuelaish is calling for the people of the Middle East 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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A Globe and Mail Best Book
Heather’s Pick

"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

"It is impossible to read this book without feeling deep compassion for Abuelaish and his surviving children, and profound respect for his determination to turn tragedy into triumph."
 — Winnipeg Free Press

“A passionate human cry for peace and understanding.”
 — Jonathan Garfinkel, The Globe and Mail (Best Book)

“This story is a necessary lesson against hatred and revenge.”
 — Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate
“Powerful. . . . Moving. . . . Abuelaish does not attempt to set out a political solution to the conflict. He simply tells his own story, with clarity and a humanity of vision.”
 — The Gazette
“A vivid, haunting and all but heartbreaking account. . . . Fast-paced, skillfully organized and highly evocative.”
 — Toronto Star
“Unshakeable courage, optimism and belief in the healing power of love is [Abuelaish’s] story. . . . This book, penned from the heart, with grace and insight, is his way of engaging us all in this quest [to create peace between Israelis and Palestinians].”
 — Heather Reisman, Heather’s Pick

About the Author

Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH, is a Palestinian physician and infertility expert who was born and raised in the 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 University Hospital in Israel, followed by a subspecialty in fetal 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. Abuelaish worked as a researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. He now lives with his family in Toronto, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A life worth emulating June 6 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Abuelaish's harrowing journey from his birth in a Gaza refugee camp to becoming an eminent OB-GYN, with all the typically terrible tragedy that befalls Gazan Palestinians, makes for engaging reading. That Dr. Abuelaish has refused to give into despair and hatred proves once again the resilience of the human spirit as well as what is possible when a person who has been raised to value what is truly valuable then goes on to act accordingly. Dr. Abuelaish's life, and that of his remaining family, is a triumph amidst tragedy. If you want your faith in what is possible restored, read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to weep Oct. 26 2010
My review draws on an review article by Harriet Sherwood (guardian.co.uk) - Sunday 15 August 2010

This is a deeply moving book, chronicling a devout Muslim's experience of almost unbearable suffering and his remarkable response to it. To summarize, One December day in Gaza, Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish took his eight children to the beach. Two months earlier, the children's mother had died from acute leukaemia, and Abuelaish was comforted to see his older daughters laughing and chatting as they wrote their names in the sand: Bessan, Maya, Aya.

But within five weeks the Abuelaishs were to suffer a second tragedy: those three girls, aged 13, 15 and 21, were killed, and another daughter, Noor, 17, seriously injured, when an Israeli shell was fired at the family home during the brief but bloody war in Gaza in 2008-9. One of Abuelaish's nieces also died; a fifth girl, another niece, suffered terrible injuries.

The title, "I Shall Not Hate" describes the book's message. "I'm against any violence," says Abuelaish. "Violence and the military approach proved its failings decades ago and that will never, ever change.As Palestinians and Israelis we have failed to change course. We just continue with the same approach which aggravates, escalates and widens the gap of hatred and bloodshed. It's easy to destroy life but very difficult to build it."

Faced with such violence, many would seek revenge. Abuelaish does not.""There is a difference between anger and hate. Anger is acute but transient; hate is a poison, a fire which burns you from the inside. We need to be angry, but direct it in a positive way."

I commend this book to persons of all faiths and none.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important read May 12 2014
By Colette
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is touching and real and helps to understand the Palestinian-Isreali conflict in a way no news reports can - through the eyes of one man's experience. A man who chooses to see all people as equal and who's generosity in spirit towards what could easily be called "the enemy" is an inspiration to all of us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! Dec 22 2012
By Leep73
This book has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster! Dr Abuelaish is a completely unique human being,who despite all the hardships in his life continues to fight for rights and peace..If you want to know the cold hard facts about what's happening in Israel/Palestine,this is the book to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If only everyone would read this... May 25 2012
Amazingly inspiring story of a remarkable man in a nightmare situation. If after reading this your view on the Israel-Palestine issue isn't affected then there may be no hope for your humanity. This book has affected the way I now view the whole conflict without ever vilifying one side or the other. This man's approach to dealing with tragedy beyond imagination is incredible, a real role model for us all in this world of ever increasing tensions. Read this book and strive for better. This is a story that can't be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it. Sept. 16 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a heart renting book, didn't want it to end, what a strong man losing his wife and 3 daughters. Highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! June 15 2010
The story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish's life is inspiring! A must read for anyone who wishes to see an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not only did this book provide me with a better understanding of the situation facing the people in Gaza, this book made me believe in peace.

Dr. Abuelaish is the Ghandi of the Palestinian people.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration Personified Dec 4 2010
While trying to avoid cliche's, I cannot avoid recording that this is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It needs to be a compulsory text book in every school, even more so for schools in the Middle East which is so torn apart by hatred, anger and frustration. The lack of bitterness of Izzeldin is more than a breath of fresh air - it is the breath of Life. If only there were provision for 10 stars, this book would get it from me. More than ever this book illustrates the terrible truth that much of the cost of war and hatred in the world is engineered by minorities and political leaders with self righteous sadistic tendencies, who have lost the common touch and whose motives are disproportionate revenge rather than reconciliation.

The situation in Israel and Palestine is particularly brutal as it has lasted so long and traversed so many, now embittered, generations. I share with Izzeldin the conviction that the vast majority in the Middle East (and in other trouble spots in the world) want no more than harmony and peaceful co-existence, despite cultural and religious differences. I have now purchased 2 copies of this book just to be used as gifts and to spread the message of peace and reconciliation so exceptionally portrayed in this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I was impressed how forgiving and loving the doctor is. We could all learn from him to " love our neighbour as one self"
Published 19 months ago by Hildegarde Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, heart-rending, beautiful
My sister sent this from my wish list. I had heard Dr. Abuelaish interviewed on CBC radio & knew I had to read his book. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2012 by annemack
5.0 out of 5 stars Important message and lesson
This is a well written book that presents the facts of Mr. Abuelaish's life with a straight forward message. Read more
Published on June 5 2011 by Revans
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read.
The story of Izzelding shook my world, it made me cry. I could not stop reading the book. What a man he is. He has inspired to make the world a better place.
Published on Feb. 1 2011 by beatriz
5.0 out of 5 stars A Look at Real Life in the Middle East!
Such horrific tragedy has been bestowed upon this family living in the Gaza Strip. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lost his wife to leukemia, three of his daughters and a neice in a... Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2011 by Louise Jolly
5.0 out of 5 stars An Education
I Shall Not Hate is a touching personal account of a Palestinian refugee, who despite unfathomable obstacles, persevered to become a medical doctor, a specialist and then chose to... Read more
Published on Dec 27 2010 by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars A pure source of enlightenment
It is not surprising that the Gaza Doctor won the acclaimed Olivier D'or trophy in part for the inspiration he provides in this book. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2010 by Dat Smart
5.0 out of 5 stars Balancing the literature.
I read "Kite Runner", "A Thousand Splendid Sons" and "Infidel". I read "I Shall Not Hate" looking for a balance to these books. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2010 by Desperate for a solution.
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