Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish received his elementary, preparatory and secondary educations in the refugee camp school system in Jabalia, Gaza. As a child and as an adult, he and his family endured the dismal and severely impoverished conditions of the refugee camp, as well as the constant humiliation and inhumanity of the siege and its associated checkpoints and travel restrictions.
At all times, Dr. Abuelaish strived to maintain a balanced and positive perspective toward his experiences and the Israeli people, knowing that the latter are not representative of the sentiments that fuel one of the world’s longest conflicts and the conflict that threatens overall world security.
Canada’s most famous Palestinian resident, University of Toronto Professor Izzeldin Abuelaish, has been tirelessly working to demand an end to the current conflict that is costing the lives of so many civilians in Gaza, his homeland.
Dr. Abuelaish knows firsthand the crushing loss that these conflicts bring to ordinary Gazan families. When an Israeli missile crashed through his house his three daughters and niece were killed in Gaza in 2009. But Dr. Abuelaish vowed not to hate and wrote a memoir, ‘I Shall Not Hate’, calling for an end to the occupation and the hatred between Israelis and Palestinians that he saw as responsible for the death of his family members.
I had looked forward to meeting Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Palestinian doctor whose book I Shall Not Hate tells his moving story. But when I met him in Toronto he rebuked me, but in a manner that increased my admiration for his character.
Dr. Abuelaish was born in Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and that would normally doom him to life-long misery and despair. His book chronicles his sufferings and humiliation ”“ and that of Palestinians ”“ from an ongoing, harsh occupation. But Dr. Abuelaish struggled day and night to become an internationally acclaimed physician and a crusader for a just peace. He made many Israeli friends.