TORONTO – People have been asking me in the past few days if the current situation
has opened the wound in my heart. The truth is that this wound has never been closed, so there is nothing to open.
Every day I talk to my siblings and relatives in Gaza, to my nieces and friends. When we say goodbye, I sense a real fear that I will never talk to them again. It's like they're all standing in a queue, the queue of death. No one knows who will be next.
People ask me if I'm afraid. Of course I'm afraid. I'm terrified. I'm filed with shock and horror, and in the past few days I feel my rage growing, although everyone who knows me knows that I am not an angry person at all. I find it hard to believe that after the terrible atrocities of the previous war, which of course did not lead to peace because war cannot bring peace, the missiles are falling again like rain from the sky.
People have been asking me if the last few days take me and my children back to that day, when two missiles hit our house and killed
my three daughters – Bisan, Mayer and Aya – and my niece, Nour. I reply that that day is with us every single second of every single day. The moment before, when they were still alive, and the moment after, when their heads and hands were scattered all over the bedroom. And I know that every moment that goes by in this war sees more parents lose their beautiful, sweet and innocent children. Yes, I am afraid. I can't fall asleep. But more than that, I am angry.
I know most Israelis truly believe that Israel wants peace, that it's only waiting for the Palestinians to extend their hands in peace. I truly believe that many Israeli want this with all their heart. The problem is that the leadership doesn't act that way at all, and it is your responsibility to be more aware of what is really going on.
The truth is that one side is controlled down to the smallest details of its life, while the other side is free in every way. One is occupied, the other is an occupier. So the situation is not equal, and let there be no confusion about it. Everyone wants to argue about the political facts of who is to blame and who did what to whom. These are not the really important questions when discussing peace and war.
We all need peace, we are all in horrible danger, not just physical but also mental and spiritual, and awareness is the only thing that can change this situation. Violence will change nothing. After all, peace is not what you reach when the missiles stop. Peace is an internal situation of faith, security, serenity and compassion. Each of us has a duty to think independently and refuse to think and talk about "us and them": Our children and their children, our casualties and their casualties. Instead, we must wake up and remember that we are linked to each other and will always be. We are part of one another, and these are our children, our problem, our war, our tragedy, our casualties, our future and our peace.
I know that vengefulness and violence always come from the darkness, and that only mutual respect, a dialogue between equals, will make real peace possible. I know that most people in our region pray for peace. I suffered terrible humiliations as a refugee throughout my life – yes, I am a refugee, my family had lands and homes within the 1948 line, and I am a refugee again after losing my beloved daughters to Israeli missiles. But I have also met Israeli colleagues and patients and foreigners with amazing generosity and wonderful compassion and mercy. I shall not hate. Whatever happens to me, I am free to choose my internal reaction.
I ask everyone to keep their hearts free of hatred and take the necessary steps in order to stop this terrible insanity immediately, before the next baby dies.
Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a former physician at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, lost his three daughters and niece to an IDF tank shell that hit their Gaza home during Operation Cast Lead
Brought to print by Amy Ginsburg