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