Gaza Book Project

Samir Mansour’s bookstore re-opens its doors!

Last updated 24 March 2022

Just 9 months after being destroyed by a missile strike, Samir Mansour’s bookstore in Gaza has been rebuilt and re-stocked with donated books from around the world, many of them inscribed with messages of support from their donors.  Led by Mahvish Rukhsana the project raised over a quarter of a million dollars and collected 150,000 books.  Samir says the new store and library, now three floors of education, history, culture, fiction and more is “many times stronger than it was before.”

Destroyed by air strikes on Tuesday 18th May 2021

The original two-story Samir Mansour book store was built 21 years ago and when the missile struck,  tens of thousands of books were destroyed. 

But it wasn’t just the destruction of a building of books.  Samir’s bookstore was much more than that.  It was a place for Palestinian children to hang out, drink tea, read, learn and socialise.  It was a community centre, and a place of positivity and hope in a besieged Gaza strip, ripped apart by war.  It allowed a young population imprisoned by an endless Israeli blockade, to escape to other worlds and lose themselves, for a while at least, in a literary elsewhere.

Samir lost no time in beginning the work to rebuild the bookshop and was grateful for the help of all who have contributed to the reconstruction of the building. He was always confident it would re-open, saying “The new shop will be three times bigger.”

Read more from the customers and local community who returned to witness the “phoenix rising from the ashes.”

Comments from the Crowdfunding Campaign

I donated because I’ve been to Samir’s bookshop and it’s an oasis in the besieged Gaza Strip. It’s as necessary as oxygen.

I encourage the persons who donated here to also talk about this issue around them, and that not only with the people who you think would agree with you. Have the conversation about it, it matters!
The British Shalom-Salaam Trust  [is a] a tiny, London-based Jewish charity supporting projects across the entirety of Israel/Palestine. We do not usually fund individuals, but the destruction of Samir Mansour’s bookstore seemed to us to represent something much bigger: book-burning in any situation has terrible resonances. [W}e are sending a message to Samir and to the world that that there are Jews who totally reject Israel’s occupation, discrimination, oppression, land-theft and violence against Palestinians. We hope one day to be able to visit Samir’s new bookshop, and to celebrate a just and sustainable peace, providing equality, prosperity and security to all the inhabitants of Israel/Palestine.
Between May 20 to 30, I campaigned to donate all the proceeds from my 2 authored books …to help rebuild Samir Mansour Bookstore.  As an Iraqi author, publisher, and book lover, witnessing the calculated attempted erasure of culture in Gaza by Israeli warplanes is infuriating. Our culture is too rich to erase. Together, we will rebuild. Sending solidarity from Turtle Island (Canada) via Iraq to Palestine. Knowledge is power!
We want to be part of the rebuilding of Gaza, not just bricks and mortar and precious books but of hope too.

Constructing the New Bookshop

September 2021

December 2021

January 2022

Opening Day! 17th February 2022

Latest News