A Palestinian doctor, who in 2009 lost three daughters and a niece when an Israeli tank fired on his home in Jabbalia in northern Gaza, and then in October 2023 lost 25 members of his family when Israeli air strikes hit their homes says Israel and Palestine are “conjoined twins” and the two people have a lot of similarities and he is committed to working for peace, harmony, equality and justice for both communities. Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish’s story is heart-wrenching yet he was willing to talk about it and gave us permission to raise the subject. Far from making him bitter, the tragedies and traumas he’s suffered at the hands of Israel have given him a determination to work to bring the two people together. He calls it his mission.
At the moment, Abuelaish lives in Toronto and is a professor of Global Health. He’s written a book about his life and his mission. It’s called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity.
Abuelaish speaks with equal passion and strength about what he calls his mission. His commitment and his determination and, indeed, his idealism shine like a beacon at this time of war and despair.
He is very possibly unique, both in terms of the sorrow and suffering he’s experienced but also in terms of the resilience he has shown and the courage and determination to stand up for peace, harmony, equality and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.