Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, a Palestinian medical doctor whose daughters were killed by Israeli tank fire on the Gaza Strip has dedicated his life to medicine, peace and reconciliation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, author of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, will deliver the keynote address for Alma College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Week at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 in the Remick Heritage Center.
Born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaze Strip, Dr. Abuelaish overcame poverty, violence and other personal hardships to become one of the most outspoken and prominent public speakers on peace and development in the Middle East, says Alma College Professor Ed Lorenz.
“His personal doctrine is that hate is not a response to war; rather, open communication, understanding and compassion are the tools to bridge the divide between Israeli and Palestinian interests,” says Lorenz.
As a physician, Abuelaish has treated patients on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict and advocates for improved health and education for women as the path toward progress and peace in the Middle East.
He is the founder of the “Daughters for Life Foundation” in memory of his three daughters who were killed in the Gaza War. The organization provides scholarships for young women to pursue their studies at universities in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Syria.
Currently, Dr. Abuelaish is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Many other activities are planned for MLK Week, including presentations on the Freedom Riders, a campus blood drive and bone marrow registry, and student community service opportunities. Admission to all MLK Week events is free and open to the public.