Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Olmert: Mulling Italy's offer
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Photo: Reuters
Prodi: Ready to send troops
Photo: Reuters
Olmert says open to international force in Gaza
Prime minister tells Italian TV he's ready to discuss Italy's proposal to send international troops to Gaza when he meets with Italian PM in Rome Wednesday

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday he was ready to discuss Italy's proposal to send international troops to Gaza when he travels to Rome next week for a meeting with the Italian premier.


Italy has floated the idea several times since this summer, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has long called for an international presence in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel, however, has opposed the idea.


Olmert said in an interview ro Italy's RAI Tg1 television news that he is on friendly terms with Premier Romano Prodi and would listen to what he has to say.


"If Italy is prepared that its army will be engaged on a daily basis against terrorist actions of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations operating in Gaza, this is very interesting news. I want to learn it," Olmert said, speaking in English.


Italy is one of the largest contributors to the expanded UN peacekeeping

force in Lebanon that was deployed to monitor the cease-fire between Israel and Hizuollah.


Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema has said that an international force for Gaza should have UN authorization, and that Italy would be ready to contribute.


"Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to sacrifice your soldiers? Are you ready to endanger your people the way we expose our people because we have no choice?" Olmert asked, adding that "If this is your policy, then we will discuss it."


Olmert is scheduled to be in Rome on Wednesday, for meetings with Prodi and Pope Benedict XVI.


פרסום ראשון: 12.09.06, 07:34
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