Palestinian Teen Shows the Power of Forgiveness

The Washington Post, Washington, DC. – As Israelis and Palestinians once again trade rocket attacks in a new round of violence, a 10-year-old story is back in the news because of the ability of one of those involved to grasp the awesome power of forgiveness and reconciliation.Gaza Strip II

On Feb. 18, 2004, a week after his 15th birthday, Yousef Bashir was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier in the front yard of Bashir’s home. The bullet splintered into three fragments, severing nerves near the teenager’s spine.

Today, after months of rehabilitation in an Israeli hospital where he learned to walk again, Bashir describes the episode as “life-changing,” which makes sense, and “a blessing,” which to many is astonishing.

“I feel very thankful to this horrible experience because it spared me from a lot of hatred I would be growing up with toward the Israelis,” he says. “I was shot by one Israeli but saved by many Israeli people.”

Indeed, over the years, Bashir has imagined finding the soldier who shot him that afternoon.

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