...Between the memories of the three daughters he lost to an Israeli shelling of his home in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict and his commitment to the family’s five remaining children, Abuelaish is trying to rebuild his life far away from Gaza.
He says he seeks to make sense of the tragedy by devoting his life to promoting peace and nonviolence. Guiding the way is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi hanging on the wall in his small office at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. The quote reads, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
“I owe it to my daughters,” Abuelaish said in an interview with the Forward. “I believe that one day I will meet them and they’ll ask: ‘What did you do for us? Did you forget us, or did you continue giving hope, sending a humanitarian message?’”
His eyes tearing up, Abuelaish continued: “I want to tell them: ‘Rest in peace. I will do everything I can for your souls. I’ll try harder than before.’”
When Abuelaish vows to “try harder,” he means using his remarkable personal tragedy to advocate for a peaceful relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. His book, “I Shall Not Hate: A Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity,” was published last year. Abuelaish is now active in raising funds for Daughters for Life, the foundation that he set up to help girls and women in the Middle East...