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NBC Opinion Writer: Palestinian Violence Against Israeli Settlers Is Justified

Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements

An opinion writer for NBC's "Think" argues Palestinians should have a right to "indiscriminately use violence against Israeli settlers" in a new piece blasting Israel's response to violent protests along the Gaza Strip border.

Haroon Moghul wrote in NBC's digital opinion section that Israel's claim it only uses force when necessary is false, because "a hugely disproportionate number of Palestinians die, while few if any Israelis ever do ... Still Israel claims it is defending itself."

Moghul went on to call the Palestinians "indigenous" to the land and criticized the "troubling" logic of Zionism, while acknowledging the historic ties Jews have to Israel and the West Bank. In his brief historical account, Moghul ignored the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which was accepted by Jews but rejected by Arabs. The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States, but Arab leaders expressed an unwillingness to accept any form of territorial compromise.

"Foreign settlers, whether they arrived before 1948 or after 1967, sought to enter that land — in order to transform that land into their own," Moghul wrote.

"Thus, if Israel is justified in using live fire against Palestinian civilians trying to re-enter territory they were literally expelled from by that state, then shouldn't Palestinians have an equal right to indiscriminately use violence against Israeli settlers?" he went on. "Settlers, after all, aren’t just trying to encroach on the meager rump state that is now purportedly on offer to the Palestinians, but are creating facts on the ground — cities, roads and checkpoints — that make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible."

Moghul, critical of the Trump administration's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, also took a shot at Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt for "tweeting a selfie" while violence at the Gaza border was happening a few dozen miles away.

"Relations between American and Israeli Jews are already in decline; the spectacle of anti-Semitic religious fundamentalists sharing the stage with a right-wing Israeli prime minister deeply hostile to the lived religious experience of most American Jews is certainly not going to help," he wrote. "Organizations like the ADL, with its already checkered record among Arab and Muslim Americans, might not want to ask after today why movements such as Black Lives Matter have successfully turned away."

Israeli forces have come under criticism for their response to Palestinians' attempts to breach the border fence separating Israel from Gaza, which resulted in the death of more than 50 Palestinians Monday. Hamas, the terrorist Islamist organization governing the Palestinian territory, has encouraged Palestinians to cut through the fence and has used the high casualty numbers as propaganda to bolster sympathy for its cause. One Palestinian told NPR he wanted to "burn" the Jews in Israel; another told the Washington Post he wanted to get into Israel and kill.