Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert stated on Friday that he is willing
to discuss the Italian proposal to send an international force to Gaza.
Olmert said that he will discus this issue next week when he travels to
Rome to meet with the Italian Prime Minister.

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Italy suggested this proposal during the summer, and that the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly called for an international force in Gaza but Israel opposed the idea.

In an interview with the Italian RAI Tg1 television, Olmert said that he considers the Italian Prime Minister,  Romano Prodi, as a friend and would listen to what he has to say regarding this issue, Haaretz added.

Olmert said that if the Italian army is willing to engage on daily basis against the fighters of Hamas,  the Islamic Jihad, and other groups “then this is an interesting news”.

Italian forces are among the largest forces contributing to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, monitoring ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Olmert is scheduled to arrive in Rome on Wednesday for meeting with the Prodi and Pope Benedict XVI.