JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces will not attack the Gaza Strip if Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups halt their cross-border rocket salvoes, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday.
Speaking after his security cabinet authorized a campaign to stop rocket attacks from Gaza and undermine the territory’s Islamist Hamas rulers, Olmert signaled a willingness by Israel to hold its fire.
“One thing should be clear: If there is no Qassam (rocket) fire on Israel, there will be no Israeli attack on Gaza. We do not rise in the morning and think about how to attack Gaza,” Olmert told reporters.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday to try to restart peace talks suspended amid Arab ire at a bloody Israeli ground offensive in Gaza.
Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Adam Entous