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

Izzeldin Abuelaish

Bloomsbury USA




256 Pages


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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", 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."


Praise for I Shall Not Hate

"What is said in this impressive book is less remarkable than who says it . . . 'Anger is fine,' he says, 'but we must all find the inner strength not to hate.' He himself has done so quite magnificently."—The Economist

"This story is a necessary lesson against hatred and revenge."—Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"In this book, Dr. 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

"I met Dr. Abuelaish just a few days after the loss of his three daughters. We faced each other as we were about to shake hands. And then, without much thought, we held each other in a warm embrace . . . It is so rare, I thought, in this debilitating and devastating area we inhabit, to meet a person like him, a man who despite his own losses, continues his belief in humanity and its potential for good, despite all . . . Through his eyes I could see another way, a way the two nations could treat each other. A way that could extract what is good, special, and humane in both of them. I could see an alternative that could light up the great similarity of both peoples, one that gets denied and put down time and time again. This option, now so scorned and held in such contempt, suddenly sprang to life, embodied in the man I was watching."—David Grossman, author of To the End of the Land

"Scrupulously honest . . . heartfelt, moving and beautifully written in a distinctive voice . . . what is most remarkable is that [Abuelaish] is able to convey not only a baseline faith in the human spirit, but hope for the future."—Emily L. Hauser, The Dallas Morning News

"Because Abuelaish has this sort of deeply nuanced approach to the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, precisely because he yearns to point out the good in those who are supposed to be his enemy, we cannot ignore or deny his damning portrayal of life under occupation."—Jane Eisner, The Forward

"An eye-opening story of a remarkable person."—Alden Mudge, BookPage

"A deeply affecting narrative told in a voice of poignant simplicity, punctuated by injunctions to love that are far from corny, tried as they are by the searing experiences of a righteous man striving to act decently in a place of madness."—Kirkus Reviews

"Dr. Abuelaish, a resident of the Gaza refugee camp where he was born and raised, became an infertility specialist practicing in Tel Aviv. The difficulties of life balanced between two warring worlds became almost insurmountable when three of his daughters (and a niece) were killed by Israeli tank shells fired into his home during the 2009 Gaza incursion. Rather than succumb to bitterness and recrimination, Abuelaish has memorialized his daughters in this affecting memoir and has continued to work to advance the cause of peace in his homeland."—Library Journal

"Born in a refugee camp in 1955, Palestinian physician Abuelaish suffers a catastrophic loss when three of his daughters are killed in their home by Israeli fire in 2009 . . . Abuelaish portrays everyday life in Gaza and tells the remarkable story of how he came to be 'the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital.' The 'tortured politics of Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East' are rendered graphic by his personal accounts of 'the humiliation, the fear, the physical difficulty' of border checkpoints and bulldozed homes. Abuelaish tells of the 'satisfying, even wonderful' moments, 'the good chapter of a bad story,' as well; an infertility specialist, he is as 'thoroughly smitten' with his research as he is appalled that 'Gaza hospitals are rundown and can't be repaired because of an embargo is preposterous.' Abuelaish knows anger, but in this impassioned, committed attempt to show the reader life on the sliver of land that is Gaza, he demonstrates that 'anger is not the same as hate.'"—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Izzeldin Abuelaish

  • 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 the Soroka Medical Center in Israel, followed by a subspecialty in fetal medicine in Italy and Belgium. He then undertook a masters in public health at Harvard University. Before his three daughters were killed in January 2009, Dr. Abuelaish worked as a senior researcher at the Gertner Institute at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. He now lives with his family in Canada, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.