Letter to the Editor: Americans should be educated about the Middle East

“We should not condemn Israeli aggression … was a defensive tactic aimed towards the perpetrators,” as stated by Sarah Brooks in a letter to the editor last week.
Reading that sentence not only offends me as an American Palestinian, but most importantly allows me to pity anyone who thinks this way. The only importance I believe this sentence serves is that it further emphasizes the ongoing ignorance that is widespread in the West regarding what is really going on in the Middle East.
Honestly, I never blame the western population for such invalid views, for it’s not their fault. What bothers me is when one assumes that he can put himself in the position to judge a situation from such a distant standpoint.
Indeed, one will truly never understand what people are going through unless they are in their same shoes.
The question is, what makes me think I understand the situation in terms of what’s really going on?
Well, for starters, I’ve been on all three sides of this clearly “unequilateral” triangle. That is, unlike most other people, I know what it’s like to be an American, Palestinian, and somewhat saw the Israeli side of things because I was born in Jerusalem.
First and foremost, both sides have suffered more than what is humanly possible. However, anyone with an open and “truth-embracing” mind would agree that the Palestinians by far have suffered in horrific ways.
Just ask me. I lived under the Israeli occupation for eight years and endured nights of shelling and terror that disturbed the tranquility which night is supposed to bring. I lived through nights where candlelight was all I had to keep me going through my studying for the following day’s exams.
However, I will say that I have seen nothing in comparison to what the innocent civilians of Gaza (so termed “perpetrators” by Ms. Brooks, since it was predominantly them who suffered from the “defensive Israeli tactics”) have seen and continue to see.
I truly don’t understand how people are justifying what Israel has done. I don’t understand how murdering more than 400 children and more than 200 women, destroying houses of worship, demolishing homes, inhumanely using white phosphorous and attacking a U.N. school, could help Israel establish a more secure state.
The only thing I do understand is that as seekers of knowledge, we students owe it to ourselves to find the truth about what’s “really” going on in the Middle East.   
 
Rawan Musaitif
Sophomore biology pre-med major