"Regarding the Gaza Strip, the prime minister said he cannot promise that the situation along the Strip will not become similar to the reality along the northern border prior to the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War. Nonetheless, Olmert said he is convinced that Israel should not launch a major ground assault in Gaza, nor should it reoccupy the Strip, the report stated. A senior Israel Defense Forces source said Thursday that the army is very concerned about Hamas' growing strength in the Gaza Strip, but not enough to lead it to ask for permission to carry out a large-scale military operation there. The prime minister also referred to the convergence plan - a proposed unilateral withdrawal from much of the West Bank, on which he based his 2006 election campaign - saying that at this stage, neither unilateral steps nor the evacuation of settlements are on the agenda. [Anyone who believes that Israel can maintain it current hold on all the West Bank is "living in a dream," Olmert said, reiterating that Israel "needs to withdraw.", Olmert did not address Haim Ramon's proposal to withdraw from approximately 70 percent of the West Bank and evacuate a small number of settlements.] According to the radio, Olmert stressed that the current diplomatic focus is on reaching a negotiated agreement with the Palestinian Authority that is acceptable to both sides. The prime minister added that he has no intention of resigning over the state comptrollers investigations into him or the criticism of his handling of the Second Lebanon War, saying he intends to be Kadima's candidate for prime minister in the next elections."
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