RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel is using the escalation in Gaza to try and thwart the PLO's bid for state membership of the UN, a senior Fatah official said Monday.
Jamal Nazzal, a member of Fatah's revolutionary council, said Israel was trying to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for rockets fired from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
"It's politically absurd to hold the PA the responsibility for the escalation," Nazzal told Ma'an.
Israel has killed six Palestinians in Gaza since Saturday and wounded dozens more. Militants in Gaza have fired over 100 rockets at Israeli military sites and across the border.
The office of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have criticized President Mahmoud Abbas for not taking responsibility for the rockets, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday.
"(Abbas) claims he is the sole representative of the Palestinian people, but is not assuming responsibility for the fire from Gaza," Netanyahu's office said.
Earlier Sunday, Lieberman said: "Abbas' failure to denounce or relate to the rocket fire into southern Israel in recent days once again raises the question of whom Abbas represents, what is his responsibility for what is done in this area and what value will an agreement with him actually have."
Nazzal said Israel was trying to push Abbas to deny responsibility for the Gaza Strip as part of a premeditated plan contrived with unidentified "rogue" Palestinian groups to thwart the PLO's efforts to establish an independent state.
"This will not happen," Nazzal said. "The PLO and the PA are the legal and only representatives of the Palestinians and are responsible for organizing the life of the people in Gaza in all aspects.
"We are politically responsible for the people in Gaza and there is a parliament which represents Palestine as a whole and a president who was elected by all Palestinians."
Nazzal said Hamas feared the PLO's diplomatic success at the UN for reasons Fatah will "expose in time," but insisted the PLO would pursue Palestine's admission to the UN as a non-member state.
"Our current battle is against the Israeli occupation ... The diplomatic path is very difficult and we will not look back at the planned escalation to take our attention off our main goal which is establishing an independent state on the borders of 1967 in spite of Israel and all its allies."