Lawyers launch crowdfund to rebuild Gaza's 'oldest bookstore'

Donations pour in to rebuild Gaza's 'oldest bookstore' after Israeli bombardment
2 min read
London
21 May, 2021
Donations are pouring in to help a fundraising effort by two lawyers for the rebuilding of Gaza's oldest bookstore, which was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.

A fundraising initiative has been launched by two US-based lawyers with the aim of rebuilding Gaza’s oldest bookstore destroyed in recent Israel airstrikes.

The two-story Samir Mansour bookshop was built 21 years ago and was an integral part of the local Gaza community, serving as both a bookshop and a community centre for Palestinian school children.

Mansour had received a phone call from the military at 6am on Tuesday asking if he was in his shop. He was at his home at the time, however later learned that his shop and its contents had been blown up.

This fundraiser is managed by Mahvish Rukhsana and Clive Stafford Smith, founder of Reprieve, a legal action non-profit 501(c)(3) organisation.

At the time of writing, $56,637 has been raised of the $250,000 goal, with over 1,000 donors.

"The bookstore was like my soul", 53-year-old Mansour, who was born in Gaza, told NBC News.

News of the attack on Mansour's shop has drawn anger and condemnation from around the world.

Read more: The awakening of Palestinian citizens of Israel

"If I compare it to what’s happening, this is minimal, but destroying the main bookshop we have is something serious," said Refaat Alareer, an academic and the editor of "Gaza Writes Back," a collection of short stories.

The community are mourning the bookshop, which was surrounded by universities and housed several English-language book clubs.

"Books are the source of knowledge and forming an identity," a post on the bookshop’s Instagram reads.

“We will rebuild.”