Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, but I'd like to
say a few things in response to your somewhat offensive comment.
First of all, I’d like to answer your question and say that I have not been to Gaza, nor do I intend to go, because I'm pretty sure that entrance for most Americans is forbidden in the present, and if it's not, it's surely highly discouraged. I've been to the West Bank twice; both times were very short trips to Bethlehem. It's something I hope to rectify someday, but longer and more regular trips simply don’t seem likely in the near future.
I also want to say that before I began my year abroad, I knew basically nothing about the Middle East. I studied engineering in college, and my friends tended to talk less about politics and more about math and science. I took this program because I wanted to branch off to different areas and learn a little more about how the world ‘ticks’ from a new vantage point, something I think most people consider a noble cause.
I am not an expert, nor have I have ever claimed to be; I do not have an MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and do not intend to get one from the Hebrew University. I take some classes that focus in this area, but I'm not nearly finished, generally not satisfied with them, and the program focuses mostly on learning Arabic and Hebrew. Most of the things that I have learned have been on my own initiative through newspapers, magazines, friends and strangers, and a few books.
Not that this is the point I'm trying to make.
The point I am trying to make is that I talk about Israel because it is where I have spent most of my time, and that this is what my family and friends, the audience I try to target with my writing, enjoy hearing about. I would write in this manner wherever I happened to be, yes, even if it were in Palestine.
I would also like to point out that I am not blind nor ignorant to the suffering of the Palestinians, nor to the restrictions and hardships that Israel imposes on them, even though I write mostly about positive experiences I’ve had in Israel in my blog, which I try to keep more informative and less political. One of the biggest things I've learned, not just from living in Jerusalem, is that there are always two sides to an argument, something that you, from the short, seemingly politically biased message you gave me, don't seem to comprehend. Nor do I try to make overbearing judgments or assumptions about people (or nations) based on what little information I may know. This is something I like to consider before I make rash statements.
So yes, in the future, I may be given a say in America, and despite your opinions I think I have a chance to fulfill this job well. And I hope that the next time when you feel you need to make corrections to facts in my blog, you will do so in a kinder manner.