She describes heartwrenching conversations with Palestinian friends as they endure the bombings. Regarding the Israeli rationale for their attacks, Mermelstein quotes Mourid Barghouti in his 2003 book I Saw Ramallah:
"It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from 'Secondly.' Yes, this is what Rabin did. He simply neglected to speak of what happened first. Start your story with "Secondly," and the world will be turned upside-down. Start your story with "Secondly," and the arrows of the Red Indians are the original criminals and the guns of the white men are entirely the victim. It is enough to start with "Secondly," for the anger of the black man against the white to be barbarous. Start with "Secondly," and Gandhi becomes responsible for the tragedies of the British. You only need to start your story with "Secondly," and the burned Vietnamese will have wounded the humanity of the napalm, and Victor Jara's songs will be the shameful thing and not Pinochet's bullets, which killed so many thousands in the Santiago stadium. It is enough to start the story with "Secondly," for my grandmother, Umm 'Ata, to become the criminal and Ariel Sharon her victim.