A father’s loss in Gaza, a major win for Canada

Friday, September 18, 2009 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

TORONT and O — At his comfortable Toronto home, the star recruit of Canada’s most ambitious graduate public-health program is the perfect host: He pours tea and arranges chairs; his eldest children bring out plate after plate of food, and his youngest daughter entertains guests with living-room acrobatics.

Izzeldin Abuelaish, who made headlines around the world as a peacenik and vocal advocate of Israeli-Palestinian détente, starts teaching today at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. It’s a hopeful new beginning nine months after a blast ripped his world asunder on the other side of the globe.

The Israeli shell that hit Dr. Abuelaish’s apartment and killed three of his daughters was one of innumerable human tragedies in the midst of Gaza’s bloody conflict last January, which elicited a United Nations report this week slamming both Israel and Hamas for war crimes.

But this particular incident caused a media firestorm that crystallized the conflict internationally.

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