The Daughters for Life Story
In December 2008, three sisters spent a day with their family, splashing in the waters of the Mediterranean and picnicking on the beach.
Bessan, 21, was finishing her studies in business school and filling the role of her mother, Nadia, who had recently died from leukemia. Mayar, 15, was a top math student and planning to study medicine. Aya, 14, was quick to smile and laugh, and thinking about a journalism career.
A month later, all three were gone, killed when an Israeli tank mistakenly fired a shell into their home. Their father could have struck back in anger or withdrawn in despair. But Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was different. Born and raised in the Gaza Strip, he practiced medicine in both his Palestinian homeland and Israeli hospitals.
Dr. Abuelaish wrote a book instead. “I Shall Not Hate” is his emotional memoir and powerful call for forgiveness and peace. It has been translated into 17 languages and read around the world.
He also created the Daughters for Life Foundation, a philanthropy that educates women from Middle Eastern nations - irrespective of nationality, ethnic background or religious affiliation - in the belief they can improve their communities and help bring peace to the region.