Mourning through writing. "The wound and the pain have not disappeared, but suffering is part of the process of forgiveness. Not forgiveness for Israelis, but first and foremost for myself, in order to shake off the hatred and the rage and hope for a better path," Dr. Izeldeen Abuelaish told Ynet.
Dr. Abuelaish lost his three daughters in an IDF shelling during Operation Cast Lead and recently published a book, "I Shall Not Hate."
In the book, Abuelaish shares his life story and the worldview of someone who remains, after and despite it all, a peace seeker.
Still believes in hope, humanity (Photo: Roee Gazit)
"What pushed me to write is faith in God and intellect. Everything that happens was and is written by God. My faith as a Muslim that 'everything is from above' helped me overcome the hardships and emotional scars."
The idea to write came to him before the tragedy. He wanted to write a memoir about being a Palestinian doctor working in Israel, where he saved lives. According to Abuelaish, faith is a positive thing, and not only in the most difficult times. "Faith is something very strong. Even if a person believes in a rock, in anything," he said.
The Gaza doctor, who worked in Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv, says his work as a doctor helped him with the writing process:
"Being a doctor is a job that is all about hope. How you help a patient, improve his condition, save his life, and even how you draw conclusions from treatment that didn't succeed so that next time the treatment won't end with death – all of this helped me in writing the book."
Abuelaish said that his goal in writing the book is to shout, "In life, don't count on things that can change. Power can change. Today, you are strong like Israel, tomorrow you are weak. Rely only on what is basic and permanent. In other words, the humanity in all of us. The tolerance, the capacity for forgiveness and the desire for a better life," he said.
'Violence is manmade'At this time, Dr. Abuelaish lives in Canada, where he first published his book. Since being published about three months ago, the book is among the best-sellers in the country, reaching the top of the list for a few weeks.
"The responses to the book are unending and are very positive, good and inspiring. Thank God, the book is going well and is helping to expose the Palestinian distress to the world, and particularly that the use of weapons and force cannot bring security or solve problems in the long term," he said. "Force can only help one side and for a limited amount of time. Thus, we must think of other ways of coping."
When Dr. Abuelaish speaks of Palestinian suffering, he mainly means the distress of Gaza's residents. Being the peace advocate that he is, Abuelaish warns against the situation in the Gaza Strip and its consequences.
"I have never seen Gaza in such state. A million and a half people in an intolerable situation, without hope, as no one in the world even looks in their direction. The Gazans are pushed into difficult situations, so no one should come to them afterwards with gripes of why they did things one way and not another. Whoever complains should come first and ask himself what he did to change the situation," he says.
A prominent theme in the book is change. "Many people, including those in my close circle, wondered how I could write these things after what I had been through. They asked about the meaning of the conciliatory tone. I tell them that the wound and the pain still exist. The feeling that you are angry and going to explode still exists, but I say that we must take action to change things and not base ourselves on rage and despair."
"We are in a tense region, but tension and violence is manmade, and not an act of God," the doctor says. "They are not a tsunami or a flood that cannot be changed, but things that can be confronted if we believe that nothing is impossible."
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