A senior figure in Fatah has accused the Israeli government of escalating military activity against Gaza as a cover-up of continued illegal settlement expansion and building. Azzam El Ahmad said that Israel's objective includes the completion of the "racist separation wall and unleashing the settlers to destroy and ruin the properties of unarmed [Palestinian] citizens".
The head of Fatah's parliamentary bloc made his statements to a 54-member French delegation at the Palestinian Legislative Council on 10 April. The delegation was headed by the French senator Michel Pilote and comprised French parliamentarians, heads of municipalities and journalists.
Mr. El Ahmad praised the delegation's support, especially the programme for twinning French cities with Palestinian refugee camps inside Palestine and neighbouring countries. In his speech, which was broadcast through Palestinian Authority-affiliated media outlets, El Ahmad called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility for recognizing the Palestinian state by September and working towards ending Israel's military occupation.