In the Gaza Strip, growing up on land owned by his family for centuries, fourteen-year-old Yousef Bashir was preoccupied with soccer, school pranks, and meeting his father's impossibly high standards. Dignified and empathetic, kind yet strict, Yousef's father was a pillar of strength for his family and community. Though he and Yousef butted heads fiercely, they loved each other unconditionally. Despite an Israeli settlement hovering on its periphery, the Gaza of Yousef's childhood could only be described as a paradise. 
That all changed when the Second Intifada exploded, and Israeli soldiers occupied the Bashir's family home. Yousef was forced to learn the rules of a new life in captivity and to watch his father treat the occupiers as honored guests -- a testament not only to his father's desire for peace between Palestine and Israel but also to his unshakable belief that it was truly within reach. Yet nothing could prepare Yousef and his father for the Israeli bullet that was about to transform both of their lives in an instant. A tale of father and son, of reckoning and redemption, Yousef's story is a sincere reminder in these troubled times that forgiveness is a gift -- and a choice. 

When he was 16, Yousef made his way to the United States to attend high school in Utah, some studies in Kentucky, and finally made it to his dream city of Boston to earn his B.A. in International Affairs from Northeastern University and an M.A. in Co-existence and Conflict from Brandeis University. After moving to Washington, DC, Yousef was selected for the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship and worked for the Partnership for a Secure America, a think tank that promotes bipartisanship among Congressional staffers. Yousef also worked in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate before he joined the General Delegation of the PLO to the US as the Congressional Affairs Advisor. Currently, Yousef is a Seeds of Peace GATHER fellow. 

Yousef wrote The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine while attending college!