Mufid Abdulkader is a Palestinian-American, a Muslim who is one of the 5 defendants of the Holy Land Foundation case, the HLF-5. I have been in touch with Mufid for about two years now, and I previously brought a few parts of his account of the treatment these five men, who I am convinced were wrongfully accused of material support for terror organizations.
I recently received an email from Mufid where he told me that he finally had chance to read my book, and he went on to share his thoughts about my book. I was very moved by his comments and I asked Mufid for permission to publish it here. Mufid’s brother is Hamas leader, Khaled Mash’al.
I finally got some time and read your book and I don’t know where to start with my comments.
First of all, I applaud you and tip my hat off to you for your courage and effort to know the other side. I still can’t fathom how someone like you who grew up in the home of one of the most decorated brilliant Zionist Generals in the Israeli Army (who was more than instrumental in winning the 1967 war) and yet his son just like him have seen the light and realized that Israel cannot continue to occupy the Palestinians for ever and get any sort of sustainable peace. Yet, your book does eloquently explain that transformation with reasoning and logic.
Simply put, you met what was supposed to be the arch enemy of all Israelis and it was not the Palestinians. Your long journey of transformation and discoveries started with meeting ordinary Palestinians without conditions other than just to talk and understand. I am sure that helped you realize that we are all humans who share the same aspiration of living in peace and harmony with our families and raising our children in peace. I feel like your wonderful effort of meeting people from the other side made you realize that there was another side of the story different that the one you have been told all your life. I have nothing but the upmost respect for your courage to stand up and call the spade a spade despite the constant name calling of your fellow Israeli citizens who do not agree with the stand you took and some may despise your opinion.
I was amazed at the number of places and people you met and talked about your passion. So many of these people I knew of, read their stories or knew someone who knew them personally. For example when you mention Dr. Issam Sartawi and his meeting with your father and it came to my mind that I knew of two great friends whom are from the same town of Sarta and that is where Sartawi is from and how he got his Sartawi nick name. My two friends and I grew up together in Kuwait from 2nd grade all the way to High School. They both immigrated to t he USA back in the early 1980. We all recall when Dr. Sartawi was gunned down and even back then the majority of Palestinian knew who was behind the killing.
Among the many things you mentioned in the book and that really evoked my emotions was “Wheelchairs For the Holy land”. It was a similar project sponsored by the Holy Land Foundation that provided over 1,500 wheele chairs for Palestinian children who were the victims of Israeli aggression. The wheel chairs were provided along with two ambulances to help carry the new victims to the hospitals in the occupied territories.
It was very ironic that it was not far from Jabri’s restaurant which you ate and it is located in Wasfi Attal Street where the Mosad tried to assassinate my brother Khaled. You can stand outside the restaurant and see the exact location where the two Mosad agents tried to poison my brother. They failed and my brother survived.
You also mentioned Salahdin Castle and that is a place I visited along with my entire family back in the 1990’s. I was amazed how unique the structure was and marveled at the architecture of the Castle.
Your book is very interesting and in many respects was an eye opening even for someone like me who thought he knew so much about the Palestinian /Israeli conflict and yet I find myself getting very emotional at times when I read about the emotional toll the conflict is taking on both sides and needless suffering of everyone.
Thank you for sharing the inside details of your journey and the many milestones you reached along the path of reconciliation and understanding. I think this is something many of us need to do to bridge that gap of mistrust and then a lasting peace could be possible.