August 12th, 2009
11:19 PM ET

My friend Izzeldin

Program Note: Tune in tomorrow for more on Izzeldin's story in 'Generation Islam,' as Christiane Amanpour reveals the struggle for hearts and minds of the next generation of Muslims. Tomorrow 9 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/12/gaza.buildings.jpg caption="A building damaged by an airstrike in the southern Gaza strip during the conflict in January."]

Isabel Maxwell
Israel Insider

Back at the end of October last, I was in Tel Aviv at the international conference celebrating the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Peres Center for Peace activities, which I attended in my capacity as a member of the Board of Governors. There were 40 international guests including many Palestinians and Palestinian students too, who were highly participatory and I felt encouraged for the first time since the Lebanon War of the summer before.

Little did I know then that within three short months, Israel would plunge into Gaza, and that I would become a telephone witness to the unspeakable tragedy of one recently widowed Gazan doctor, whom I had befriended 10 years before when he was a resident at Soroka Hospital and I was receiving an award from there and getting involved with helping fundraise for the hospital.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/13/art.izzelden.isabell.jpg caption="Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish with the author, Isabel Maxwell, taken at UCLA in April earlier this year."]

By now most of the readers of this column will know the public story: the doctor from Jabalaya who was trained by Israel and treated Israelis and Palestinians alike at Soroka Hospital. A peace activist, whose three daughters of his eight children, were horrifically killed last Friday when his house was bombed during an exchange of fire between an Israeli tank and Hamas. There was Bisan, aged 20 who had taken over her mother’s role and was also a student – she had been thrown from a bed to the floor. Mayar, 15, and Aya, 14, were also dead, along with Noor, a 17-year-old cousin. Shatha, 17, who was badly wounded in the eye, was a straight-A student, and another niece was badly wounded too.

I have decided to repeat here something of my private conversations with Izzeldin, to testify to the ‘WYSIWYG’ of the man – What You See IS What You Get – his outlook from the time of Soroka many years before, till now, had strengthened if anything. We talked at length about the special responsibility he had, as an international spokesperson for his country and as a bridge for peace through medicine. I would telephone him on his cell phone in Gaza and his streams of conversation and my questions and expressions were punctuated throughout by the heavy noises of gunfire and bombs and artillery – for me, a most surreal and uncomfortable experience.

Here I was, looking out at the blue Pacific Ocean with the little white sails of boats skimming along in the distance, and the sun beaming in the sky, while 10,000 miles away my friend has not left his home in 19 days and lives in total fear of it being reduced to rubble at any moment. At one particularly loud explosion, I said in alarm, “Izzeldin!!! I’m so worried for you! Please! What is happening?!”

“Isabel! The house is shaking! The whole house is shaking! So close!!”

“Izzeldin! I don’t think you should be speaking on the phone any more! Please go and be with your children!” He told me that his brother was there and it was OK and he wanted to go on talking. I got the impression it somehow helped him to be talking to the outside world…….and so I kept going….We talked about his children, about his poor dead wife, and how she had died….about his dreams for the future…..

His streams of consciousness were of this nature – he would say things like:

“Isabel, I know, I know so much I have the responsibility for building bridge to peace. All my life I have worked for peace I been all over the world, in Israel, in Canada, in Afghanistan, in in Germany, in England, all these places I have been and you know me, Isabel, I love my work, I love helping people for the peace, my children I want them to know a better world, I want my people to know a better world. The tunnels are no way for a people to live! It is disgusting. They are Mafia who control those tunnels. The Leadership is no good, no good! I stood for Parliament as an independent and you know I got 6,000 votes in my area. I was very popular in my area – the people they know me well, they know what I do. I love Gaza, I love my people. They deserve better” Come to Gaza, it’s nice here, when things are better, you come.” When the fighting has died down I am dying to take my camera outside and take pictures of my house….. “

But the last comment I heard before his life changed for ever, was one of such simplicity and so human –

Isabel. You know what I want most right now? I want to take a shower.

“Izzeldin, take good, good care, we are working so hard on getting you and your children out.”

“God willing, Isabel, we will make it through. “

“Yes, yes, I’ll talk to you tomorrow…”

When I woke up in the morning of the 16th, my thoughts turned immediately to Israel and my friend in Gaza…. I opened up my email anxiously as I have done for the past three weeks, and the worse news hit me. My friend Moshe emailed me from Jerusalem to inform me that he had seen the tragedy of Izzeldin played out on Israeli TV – HORRIFIED, I tried to call Izzeldin, hoping against hope it was a mistake. His phone answers and all hell breaks loose on the line. Sirens are blaring, his voice is horribly strained and different.

“Who’s this? Who’s this?”

“Izzeldin, I raise my voice into the phone speaker, “It’s me Isabel, ISABEL”–


Why? Why? What did my children do to deserve this? What did I do? ALL MY LIFE I WORK FOR PEACE Allah Allah . Isabel, tell me! What did I do, what did we do?? AH!!!

I’m devastated at this torrent of anguish and grief and shock that is pouring down the phone into my ear. I’m destroyed for him and to be speaking to him at such a traumatic moment, is beyond heart-breaking –

“Izzeldin! I’m sooooooo SORRRRRRRY, soooooooo SORRRRRY…..
I have to raise my voice – “WHERE ARE YOU ? WHERE ARE YOU ?

“I’m in the ambulance, ambulance, ah Sala!!!!!! My daughter my daughter.” “Where are the others? Where are your other children?!”

He does not answer, but cries out in great gasps and gags –


Suddenly, the ambulance sirens blare very, very loudly and Izzeldin starts: “I ahhh” . Then the phone clicks off.

One man’s life and his whole family, changed in the flash of a bomb, the blink of an eye, the horrors of war…… an unwanted symbol of all that is terrible in this enduring conflict – and yet, in his extreme grace since the tragedy, for I have spoken with him since, a beacon of hope for new leadership in Gaza.

Whether one is Israeli, Palestinian or an international citizen who believes that the only way out of such a conflict is to once and for all achieve a peaceful agreement between these two States – Israel and Palestine, one thing is clear to me: Israel and Hamas owe this man and all civilians who have lost dear ones in this war the deepest regrets and apologies for what this conflict has perpetrated on the innocent.

May the Obama administration actions enable the Cease Fire to hold in Gaza so that not one more child will die in vain and new seeds of hope can actually be planted and grow to maturity at last in the memory of Izzeldin’s dear children and all the children who have died so needlessly in this unspeakably sad conflict. AMEN.

Program Note: To learn more about Dr. Abuelaish and his foundation, visit http://www.daughtersforlife.com/. For more ways to make a difference, visit Impact Your World.

Editor's Note: Isabel Maxwell is a peace activist and international business consultant. Find more of the story here.

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. David, Indiana

    Isabel Brazil, We have to keep working on the peace process, it sustains hope and reduces conflict. It protects the chance for progress. In fact we are lost without it. The effort itself makes things better.

    Annie Kate, I agree with your comment in every respect.

    August 13, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  2. JAK

    While in a NY airport, wait for my flight back to Aman Jordan and to Saudi I overheard a group of people talking. One person laughed and said were can a person get land for nothing, and said jokingly Palistine and they all laughed again. It is Isreal's way on aquiring land. They accuse someone of being a terrorist, blow up the home, kill the the family, demolish the home and then build a new settlement in its place. The cost was human life, their posessions, their history and illiminating them from the face of the earth. They no longer are relevent by jewis standards and they no long need the land. I was taught, that we are all god's children. I guess, if your not jewish, you don't matter. The man sitting next to me said, that those individuals conversation was pathetic and he pitied the poor people they were talking about. He said the Arab's had no hope and no future as long a the Jew's have their way. Isreal is not our alli, if we side with them, we condone their actions. God would of never condoned their actions. I said that I agreed with him and wondered when Isreals quest for more land would stop. His answer was, God only knows. We need to stop supporting Isreal and tell them to stop the madness. Until this is done, there will be no peace on earth or goodwill to anyone.

    August 13, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  3. George Woloskie

    Izzeldin my prayers go out to you and your family. No words can express my sorrow for your loss. You are a man of honor and peace. May you always walk in Allahs foot steps my brother and may he always guide the steps you take. You have paid the ultimate price for peace and my brother, Allah will now hold and Love your children.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  4. mary smity

    This loss of human life is so sad. To solve the problem get to the source.
    The Saudis are at source of this conflict. They leave the fight of the Israel people to Palestinian. You want to solve this problem???
    GO TO THE SOURCE!!!!! Now ....go start investigating and revealing what the Saudis are doing behind the scenes to promote all this violence.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  5. Mike

    HAMAS is to blame, not the Israelis.

    Hamas are the ones who use the nonfighting population as human shields. They violate the Geneva Conventions by quartering troops in civilian buildings, disguising themselves as civilians, not carrying their weapons openly, and firing rockets and mortars from beside (or even from the roofs of) civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals.

    HAMAS is to blame. Period. I feel for Izzeldin's loss, but if someone wants to try to put blame for this on the Israelis, they are barking mad.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  6. pete d

    isreal, the worst investment in U.S. history. the isreael/jewish madoff's have done more damage to the U.S. than all muslim terrorists combined. time to drop these backstabbing, baby killing land theives

    August 13, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  7. Henry Miller

    It's to the lasting shame of the United States that we continue to support Israel in the face of such atrocities.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  8. Chuck, New York

    It's hard to commiserate with the friends and neighbors of terrorists, when those very terrorists bring on a war. What were these people expecting? Then, afterward, they celebrate "winning" this war that they began themselves... doesn't this mean they're happy that it happened?

    I'm puzzled. If you don't want this strife, then don't support, and don't vote for a group that would happily make all this happen again and again!

    August 13, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  9. saar hewitt

    Yes yes , another story of innocents killed in war.
    I am sorry though . Gaza is controlled by Hamas not by Israel.
    They stop at nothing having killed their fellow Palestinians
    the Fatah . So they can rule with their pseudo Sharia law.
    So if you sit around using all the money that Europe and the World
    bank give you to build scrappy rockets and fire them at civilians
    all day while chanting Allah's name.
    Then eventually you will be stormed and in war as in war
    civilians get hit.

    Enough of the soppy stories. Tell them to choose peace or
    pay the price. We chose peace with egypt and gave them Sinai.
    Probably we will do the same with Syria and Palestine if they weren't busy trying to get the WHOLE country for their refugees.

    Regarding the doctor I preach peace too and my neighbor
    died from a mortar shell to his neck. So allah maek and lets move on to better times.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  10. joseph

    This story tugged at my heart strings, allowing me a brief glimpse of the incomprehensible pain and trauma war inflicts on the innocent. It pains me more to know that should israel have had earnest and committed partners in a peace process this doctor's family would be alive and well today. The Obama Administration need to focus on ensuring a legitimate peace partner exists with israel to deal with. LAND FOR PEACE has not worked, does not work, and will not work. Case in point is Gaza the israeli withdrawal and area under Hamas control quickly morphing into a staging ground for attacks on Israel proper.
    Hopefully the "palestinian" people can bring to the negotiating table non violent representation with an earnest and honest desire live in a peace.

    (BTW everyone who is interested in, or comments on, the current state of israeli/arab affairs would be well served to read a few books on the creation and formation of the State of Israel, and the history of palestine under ottoman and subsequent British control. I find it amazing how ill informed we all are, and the grave misconceptions the world has.)

    August 13, 2009 at 7:16 am |
  11. Alon Gershon

    While I feel for any person who loses loved ones to tragedy, let us not forget that:
    (1) Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel
    (2) Hamas and its' operatives have launched thousands (over 8000) mortars and rockets into Israeli territory
    (3) Israel wthdrew from Gaza (and closed down numerous 'settlements') in 2005
    (4) the Gazans elected Hamas to be their leaders/representatives who continued to attack civilians
    (5) Hamas violated the terms of the 6 month cease-fire (two wrongs don'r make a right)
    (6) The IDF at least attempted to notify gazan citizens of when attacks and hostile activity may occur. Tell me which army attempts to take this type of measure of warning residents that an attack may come.

    I hope for peace and weep for wasted lost lives. But sometimes talking gets nowhere. And then, as in the case of "disengagement", that sometimes gives you rockets.

    Yes, I am Proud to be an American.
    And I thank G-d that I am also an Israeli.

    Alon Gershon, Jerusalem, israel

    August 13, 2009 at 6:48 am |
  12. Amit

    A truly horrible story. He truly was a good man and his family was unfortunately caught in the middle. But once again people refuse to see why it all happened. Hamas used these poor defenseless souls as battle shields. They sent rockets into Israel for nearly a decade. They vowed to destroy and terrorize Israelis. Can we just already lay the blame where it belongs? Think of how much better Palestinian lives would be today and the thousands of innocents spared had Yassir Arafat simply kept up his end of the bargain years ago. The Palestinian leadership defines themselves by war. Without it they feel like they have no purpose. Such a waste ... isn't it? All the Israelis want is to be left alone in peace. 8,000 rockets fired into your state is not living in peace. Unfortunately they had to react (as always).

    August 13, 2009 at 6:38 am |
  13. Antoinette Sellitto

    Ironically this slaughter of innocents is being committed by a group whose people suffered genocide less than 100 years ago. This is only part of the story of the suffering of the Palestinian people by the Israelis.

    August 13, 2009 at 6:34 am |
  14. Anthony

    While this is a heart-wrenching and truly sad story, it doesn't do justice to the situation in the area.

    The author legitimizes a Hamas that fights an internationally recognized government with suicide bombers and rocket barrages targeted at civilian centers. If you're going to recognize Hamas and embolden them with sympathy this conflict will NEVER end.

    August 13, 2009 at 6:33 am |
  15. Mishy B

    This is a horrible story and clearly shows the anguish of war. Too often, however, we read of the tragedy that befell the people of Gaza...how about some detailed narratives like this of the eight years of bombs and dead children and innocent victims that the people of southern Israel have suffered through?

    August 13, 2009 at 6:26 am |
  16. MCR - NJ

    My heart goes out to Izzeldin, but let's be very clear: Hamas deliberately drew Israeli fire by launching thousands of rockets into Israel. Those rockets caused similarly heart-rending tragedies in Sderot and other Israeli towns. Alas, Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel.

    It's been well documented that many rockets have been launched from heavily populated civilian areas in Gaza in the hopes that the Israelis would respond by bombing these launch sites and causing massive casualties. Is it possible that Hamas deliberately and cynically launched a rocket from the immediate vicinity of Izzeldin's house, knowing he was a peace activist? Things are not always as they seem in the mideast.

    August 13, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  17. steve

    Some preventive medicine could have prevented the need for Israel to take action in order to stop the thousands of rockets launched over 8 years into Israel from Gaza. Until true moderate Palestinians step up to the plate and denounce jihad, innocent people on both sides will suffer. We Israelis are far too aware that the loss of innocent Palestinian lives works against our moral and strategic interests. Hamas is the only entity that benefits from the loss of these lives, and continues to put its voters and their children in harms way. Sad but true.

    August 13, 2009 at 6:11 am |
  18. I am spartacus

    Very touching and Saddening story. Thank you for courageously sharing your story with the rest of the world. No one can completely understand what you and your friend have been through. I am sorry to see such injustices in this world. Unfortunately such horrifying events cannot be a complete suprise in this situation. When one party of a conflict is totally devoted to the destruction and extermination of the other party and imprints this in younger generations it is impossible for such events to not occur. Especially when this party has to resort to racist literature and verses in order to justify their extremity. It is a ticky time bomb. We all must hope and look forward to the day that the world is lead by people who contribute to the road of peace and compromise such as your friend to ensure that such horrors never occur.

    And to JC from LA
    where has Israel complained soley on the excuse of anti semtism in order to get her way? America is the only major ally that Israel has in this world. Perhaps if more nations stepped up and put forth more effort to "solve" this conflict the world could see an end to this violence (demilitarized zones?)and the responsibility would not have to be soley on the shoulders of America. Instead we see the UN being used to slander one side and "care-free" efforts being put forth to finding a permanent peace. Maybe clean your own house (get the facts and logic down) before telling America what to do. PEACE

    August 13, 2009 at 5:58 am |
  19. amin halum

    This story brought tears to my eyes and to tell u the truth i did witness this Broadcasted on CNN during the gaza war, this horrific act of terror was happening and no one was there to help save the lives of his children which he does for his patients no matter what race they are on a daily basis. The fact is that these kinds of things happen everyday and the only thing we can do is talk about it. International rules and regulations don't seem to exist towards Israel and if they are brought to attention it is simply thrown away as if it was never mentioned. This incident as well as many others that happen on a daily basis in that region are barely reported throughout the world and when its done from an Israeli media broadcaster he is sentenced to serve a sentence behind bars for anti-semitism. When is this going to end? When will we the people of the world open our eyes and say this is wrong? ACTIONS need to be taken and international laws and rules need to be abided by both sides and an end to this horrific terror and apartheid needs to stop now! May the dead rest in peace and may the future lead to peace and bring a brighter day among us everywhere in the world! Thanks for posting this article.

    August 13, 2009 at 5:47 am |
  20. Jader

    I hope this story gives people of the United States, specks of what israel is. I hope this story gives specks of what the country that has broken the most U.N resolutions is all about. Wake up people there were never be a two state soulition. Israel does not give a crap that there are millions of people stuck in a compact area with little food, little water, and little shelter. Palestinians are yearning to return back to their home land, yearning to return back to their homes, yearning to return back to their peaceful, civil lives. But they know that as long as their is israel, as long as America is arming israel, and as long as Americans maintain their biased stereotypes about Palestinians, and as long as Americanes care more about a few hundred border living Israelis living in villas, with swimming pools, the Palestinian people will have no hope to ever return to their stolen homes, return to their stolen land, or return to their peaceful lives. These details i have depectited is less then 10 percent of the details of the horrid lives of gazans. So before composing 10 word comments about how israel is right, i recommended you truly get educated about this topic that is biased throughout the world.

    August 13, 2009 at 5:10 am |
  21. Mohammad, LA CA

    I hope this story will point out the obvious- that Israel is willing to slaughter and murder little children even if they are the children of a doctor who was TRAINED in Israel and who actually tends to Israeli soldiers!

    The real question is: The Jews suffered in the holocaust, why would they in turn inflict such miserable suffering on the Palestinians? Such an evil civilization.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:45 am |
  22. Jimmy

    My god. This ongoing conflict must come to an end. Unfortunately, both sides seem further than ever to coming to a peaceful resolution to this heartbreaking conflict. All parties involved seem to neglect the fact that their disparate ideologies are brutalizing the only hope for peace – the civilian population. My heart goes out to the families of Palestinians and Israelis who are stuck in the middle of this conflict and ultimately bear the brunt of the brutality that has characterized the single greatest tragedy of our time. When will moderates prevail? With each shelling more and more people are alienated from their goals of peaceful coexistence. How many more innocents will be the victim of indiscriminate killing before it is too late for peace?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:44 am |
  23. Aaron

    What about the constant screaming in Sderot, Israel where people are constantly living in fear. Every day, every hour, every minute. All year round.
    Unfortunate what happened in Gaza but it only lasted a few weeks. Israel knows when to stop.

    How on earth is Hamas, the terrorist organization that threatens the western world's existence, that has no regard for rules of engagement, that has no regard for civilian or soldier, compared to the state of Israel?
    A country that supplies its enemy with health care, land, electricity, water, and pretty much all human needs. A country that pulls its own people out of an area to make room for its enemy in hope they won't abuse the privilege of living there by sending Kassams into Israel.

    Israel owes nobody. Israel is the only country in the world that their neighbor can launch missiles and bombs in attack of it and the world disapproves any counter attack.

    If Mexico would send one missile into Texas, what do you think would happen?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:39 am |
  24. Paul Rodriguez

    Will there also be eyewitness accounts of the continuous bombs which landed on Sderot which prompted the Gaza campaign, or just the single-sided account from Gaza?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:36 am |
  25. Robert Boeren

    It`s boring how accounts of the conflict between Israel and Hamas get twisted by the writers of these comments. On the other hand, why did Isabel Maxwell have to speak for her acquaintance? She wasn´t even an eyewitness, What does the term "Israel insider" actually mean? Would better journalism attract more interesting comments?

    August 13, 2009 at 4:19 am |
  26. Ali Husseinzadeh

    Sad story but totally out of context. It would be great if there were peace in the world, but since there isn't you have to look at context. This story would be like telling the story of Dresdon after the allied pursued the Nazis and saying that the allies owe Germany an apology. Israel does not owe an apology for defending itself, the suicide bombing Hamas that uses its own citizens for propaganda like this are the only ones responsible here.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  27. Jonathan B.

    Our thoughts go to the victims on both sides of the barrier: the palestinians in gaza and the Israeli residents of Sderot under constant threat of rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas. Please Obama, bring an end to this conflict once and for all. Peace.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:26 am |
  28. Yitzchak

    War is a terrible thing, but that's the price Hamas was willing to pay by firing over 8000 rockets into Israel! Even after Israel seeking a one-sided solution evacuated every single settlement in the Gaza strip!
    This story is tragic, but I'm sure there were similar stories of "innocent" civilian suffering in Nazi Germany and Japan despite the fact they started a Word War!

    August 13, 2009 at 3:26 am |
  29. Stanley

    These deaths of good people are tragic, but the deeper tragedy is that Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel. There can only be peace when both parties want it. To paraphrase Golda Meir, when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Israelis there will be peace.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:18 am |
  30. Stan Goodman

    Why do we never read in this column descriptions of the eight-year Hamas bombardment of Israeli villages that preceded the Israeli defensive action in Gaza? Up to fifty (50) rockets and/or mortar bombs per day, on and near schools and nurseries. What other country would have tolerated a single day of that. Why do we not hear of the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Scalit over three years ago, who is still held incommunicado to this day, refused contact of any sort with his family, or visits by the Red Cross, all in violation of the "International Law"? This is the most bigoted and biased forum on the planet. Why is it never mentioned that Israel has been confronting a constant threat of annihilation since its founding - no, since long before, when there was no "occupation"? Does anyone here know that the PLO was founded years before there was an occupation, when the object was (as it remains) to murder as many Jews as possible?

    August 13, 2009 at 3:12 am |
  31. Dani

    I understand many Palestinians have died, but what about the Israelis? I think its horrible that on both sides people die, but what about Hamas shooting rockets every day into Israel and injuring and killing innocent people? What about Hamas firing at Israeli soldiers behind civilians? What about the shooting YESTERDAY in Israel because of the pressure from America to lift check points therefore a terrorist shot 2 innocent people shopping. Yes, it is horrible and my heart goes out to all the Palestinians' families who have died. But war is not unjust if Israel is going after hamas and hizbullah who fire rockets EVERY SINGLE DAY into Israel.

    Consider BOTH sides.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:06 am |
  32. guajira

    I will never forget the newsclip of this I saw on the net – it made me cry. I cry for Izzeldin, his family and all innocent people whose lives have been taken so violently. I grew up in civil war, so I know the horrors firsthand.
    You are always in my prayers.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  33. Bilal H

    what a sad story. No one can read this article and not cry. I really cried and will always cry for peace in the peace land.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:30 am |
  34. David Rottenberg

    I am deeply moved by Isabel's story. But I need to ask who is writing about the anguish of the Israel fathers and mothers who lose their children? Where are the voices of concern about the Israeli families who suffer lifechanging losses in this stupid confrontation?

    When will the world wake up to realize that it is the corrupt eaders and power grabbers among the Palestinians who perpetuate the impossible dream of grabbing back "their land" and pushing the Jews into the sea? It is they who prevent the Palestinians from developing their own territories to blossom with industry, commerce and good lives for their citizens.

    A two state solution can be achieved if both sides deal legitimately, with amity and become true negotiating partners. It is the only solution.

    As much as Isabel's writing may bring tears to my eyes, its one-sidedness fails to move forward towards peace.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  35. ILoveEarth

    as an Arab myself, doesn't matter christian Muslim or jewish, it is in our genes to fight back, if i was a soldier or not, if someone takes my land away, I would do whatever it takes to get it back. Bottom line is, and honestly, there will be peace only by giving the Palestineans their places back. Israel has to stop doing the following: Forcing the palestineans out of their homes, burning their olive trees and the rest, building that wall, and to STOP killing and capturing young kids, women and the elderly.
    And why is it hard to show on CNN the way crimes done by Israel.
    People believe Taliban are the terrorists and they don't even know who Taliban is. For example, Osama Ben Laden is backed up by Bandar Bush. Why is Israel allowed to have Nuclear weapons and Iran is not allowed?(And their weapons and strategies are for defensive use only, both USA and Israel know that).
    Why is Hezbollah a terrorist group? Because they freed southern Lebanon of Israeli occupancy. They might have something to do with some stuff in Argentine or somewhere else, but they were solutions to free Lebanon and there's still occupancy in southern Lebanon. Why does CNN create fear and not show the truth?

    August 13, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  36. Sara Amir

    Isabel, thank you for the heartfelt recounting of the story, I felt so sad and angry at the same time. As you said it's easier for us to fight against injustice while living in California and looking at the blue ocean, but we need more Isabels to tell the truth!

    August 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  37. Annie Kate

    What a terrible thing to happen to a man espousing peace and helping others with his medical talents. The saddest thing is that he is just one of many people suffering from the loss of their family in Israel/Gaza. Hopefully, wiser cooler heads can find a way to peace for both sides; a peace that is acceptable in the long run by both sides and that enables both groups to live side by side in an already overcrowded country.

    August 12, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  38. Dave Rasmussen

    Thank you Isabel for your testimonial on Izzeldin and the horrors of an unjust war. I stand with you in bringing out the message so that we wil not have to see others suffer as Izzeldin has.

    August 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  39. earle,florida

    This is a sad tale,but so often played over,and over with only innocent lifes taken for the sake of a few insanely hubris myoptic fools,straddling the rightous divide of humanity! Isn't it funny that the Orthodox Jews,and the Christian,Islamic Muslim Orthodox Religous are ignored by the governments of their countries,with subtle distain,...?

    August 12, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  40. paula silver

    This story is so revealing of the tragedy going on in Gaza that we don't often hear. Isabel hearing your voice through the dialogue brought tears and a feeling that what we do as individuals is both important and meaningless.
    Thank-you for sharing this insightful story.

    August 12, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  41. JC- Los Angeles

    While peace on earth should be the minimum standard for acceptable behavior, it's getting a little old to continually hear stories about Palestine and Israel when the rest of the world is falling apart.

    One doesn't have to travel to the Middle East to hear deplorable stories of youths who won't make it to a sweet sixteenth birthday or who won't make it home safely from school.

    America has bent over backwards to accommodate the Middle East and all we get in return is a declining world position and accusatory tones of anti-semetic behavior when Israel doesn't get their way.

    It's time for America to focus on cleaning up our own house rather than being the cleaning lady for far too many others.

    August 12, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  42. Christine Malina

    This piece really brought the horrors of war home to me – in a very personal way. This made me feel like I was there.
    Thank you for posting this fresh and painful story which takes us beyond the numbing statistics and reminds us only too vividly that human suffering knows no boundaries.
    I will watch tomorrow night.

    August 12, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  43. Isabel • Brazil

    What amazing story!

    We should pray for the much desired peace is not a pipe dream, a chimera!

    August 12, 2009 at 5:54 pm |