Prime Ministrer Ehud Olmert,
who was making his way back to Israel
from the United States, said Thursday morning that he had a lot of thoughts on how to deal with the Qassam fire.
Olmert, who had met with senior American officials during his five-day visit, said that "there is not one easy solution for the war against Qassams. The fact is that even after Operation Defense Shield, terror from Judea and Samaria continued. There is not one thing to do to stop the Qassam."
The prime minister promised: "We will continue to promote diplomatic activities. It should be noted that there is no problem in the Palestinians' ability to fight terror."
Asked whether it has been agreed to let the Bader Unit enter the territories from Jordan, he answered that "their force is already much more armed today than in the past, but this force is not doing what it should."
The prime minister made it clear that he would expect Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to manifest a "firmer and more decisive stance."
As for the continuation of the operation in Gaza, Olmert said that "in the south of the country there is an ongoing firing of Qassams, and I view it with great severity. We have been taking measures for a long time. Since June, 360 terrorists have been killed in our anti-terror activities.
"There is no doubt that what happened yesterday in Sderot and Ashkelon is difficult. Our activity will continue each time in accordance with the news and the circumstances."
Meanwhile, Vice Premier Shimon Peres rejected the possibility of a wide-scale operation in Gaza such as Operation Defense Shield which was held in the West Bank.
"We can occupy Gaza, but that would be a cardinal mistake. Sinking into the Gaza mud will not guarantee the end of missiles fired at Israeli communities. The IDF will also serve as a convenient target for hurting soldiers," he said.
According to Peres, "With patience and restraint we must continue the international pressure which will get Hamas off the tree. The solution is to talk when Hamas stops entrenching itself and the missiles stop."
As for a possible meeting with Abbas, Olmert said that he and his Palestinian colleague were holding continuous talks.
"My people talk to his people all the time. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing delaying the meeting between us," he added.
"Our hope is to reach a meeting with Abu Mazen (Abbas) in the near future. We want to hold discussions with him in order to reach the objectives which both we and the international community and the Palestinians want to reach," he said.
As for his government's diplomatic program, Olmert said that he did not wish to elaborate on the ideas he raised with the American president.
"Since my conversation with Bush was tete-a-tete, it is inappropriate to refer to what was discussed in it," he said in response to a question whether it was true that he presented Bush with a diplomatic plan based on the realignment plan.
He agreed to say that "regarding two issues we discussed, both the Palestinian issue and the Iranian issue, I left the meeting with a strong feeling that there is a deep understanding between us."
Addressing the Saudi plan, Olmert said that he does not wish "to obligate or disqualify this country or another. The moderate Arab countries' peace plan has elements one can agree on, points which can be negotiated."
"Every Arab country which is willing to take part in an effort to create a dialogue is a country which I consider worthy for promoting diplomatic processes," the prime minister stated.