About The Gaza Book Project

As the missiles rained down on Gaza on the morning of May 18, one had a very particular and peculiar target – Samir Mansour’s bookstore. The two-story establishment was built 21 years ago and served as a local community center. Mansour had an extraordinary collection of over 90,000 books—stacked up on shelves and stairways. Many were in Arabic, but it was also the premier foreign language book store.

We are soliciting your help to restock his shelves in at least two ways: first, new books are great, because Samir has to rebuild a business as well as a life-long dream.

But second, we have what we call “The Book Project”. We are keen to receive second hand books, in relatively good shape, particularly if you inscribe inside the cover a brief description of what the book meant to you, or taught you.

If you are willing, please also include an email address – this way we hope we will open a channel of communication for people who are in a dire situation – and, in our experience, those in the West who make these connections learn and gain equally.

Samir, the owner of the bookshop, had an eclectic range of books, and welcomes all languages, with an emphasis on English, Arabic and French. He would be grateful for fiction and non-fiction, and everything from children’s picture books to tomes focused on specialised expertise.

Our website has an interactive map where you can find the closest “Book Depot” to you. From there they will be taken to a central London warehouse and ultimately shipped to Samir’s book store.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with us here.

In the end the goal is to foster sharing ideas. Violence tends to arise out of prejudice and hatred, and books dissolve the ignorance in which they ferment.

This fundraiser is managed by human rights lawyers Mahvish Rukhsana JD and Clive Stafford Smith JD OBE with explicit consent and cooperation from Samir Mansour, the bookshop owner.

A loving, cherished community hub, reduced to rubble.

We will rebuild it.




Use our interactive map to find your nearest drop off point. Just put your city name in the search box, or navigate the map manually.


We’d love for you to donate secondhand books, in good condition to the project.


Write a message inside or share your email address to spark up conversation with those in Gaza.


Tell others about the book project and donate to the GoFundMe page, which is linked below:


JUNE 3 2021

‘France24: We will rebuild it’: Beloved Gaza bookstore a casualty of Israel’s war with Hamas

A haven for book lovers, Samir Mansour’s Gaza store weathered wars and uprisings in the troubled Palestinian enclave – until an Israeli air strike reduced it to rubble during the latest conflict with Hamas. FRANCE 24’s Gwendoline Debono and Vedika Bahl sent this report.

JUNE 2 2021

QCodeMag: Gaza, when a bookstore dies.

Thousands of books lost forever, crushed under the weight of the Kahil building, in Al-Thalathini Street, Gaza City.

Gallery – Before the Strike

Images from Gaza

Gallery – After

Images from Gaza

A firsthand visit to Samir’s bookshop:

“We drank multiple mugs of hot mint tea together while discussing my curiosities about Gaza and about his work.”

When I was in Gaza, I had some days free for leisure, and so I asked my friend to take me to a bookstore. This would be usually what I would look for, when I am visiting any new place. When I walked into Samir Mansour’s shop, it exceeded my expectations. Every wall was lined with tall shelves, stacked full. I could see there were translations of popular titles from world literature, and even a brightly colored children’s section.

Piles of new editions were stacked tidily around the space, and a clerk welcomed us to the store. I didn’t know where to begin, but was happy browsing, wondering what secrets the pages held, admiring the intricate gold script on the largest tomes that lined the upper shelves. Mr. Mansour soon came out, and attentively asked me what I usually read? I talked about my love for novels and poetry. He invited me in to sit with him in his office, and we drank multiple mugs of hot mint tea together while discussing my curiosities about Gaza and about his work.

He talked about the next work of literature he was excited to be helping to translate from Arabic. In the end, he recommended some books to me from his shelves, including the novel Out Of It by Selma Dabbagh, and an English-language introduction to the principles of the Q’uran. When I took these selections to the clerk to try to pay, Mr. Mansour would not allow it and instead gave the books to me as gifts.

This, I think, is why it is useful to think of this space as more than just a book store. If Mr. Mansour was this attentive to a visitor who was a total stranger, I can only imagine how important the space must have been to the school kids, university students, and other young people who went there to nurture a connection to the world. I will forever be grateful for that briefest of visits, Mr. Mansour’s patience with my questions and for his wealth of experience and obvious love for the written word.


If you have any questions, please get in touch below.