He said that Olmert "agreed that Israel will stop operations and begin the withdrawal from Gaza at the same time".

In Jerusalem, a spokeswoman for Olmert, said: "Abbas told the prime minister that all the Palestinian factions are committed to the agreement.

"Abbas asked in response that Israel stop all military operations in the Gaza Strip and withdraw all the forces.

"The prime minister... told Abbas that Israel would respond favourably as Israel was operating in the Gaza Strip in response to the violence. With the end of violence Israel would be happy to withdraw its troops."

Palestinian fighters have been firing rockets into southern Israel daily in what they say is a response to Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Israel withdrew troops from the territory last year but resumed ground operations there in June after fighters from Gaza tunnelled across the border and captured an Israeli soldier, who is still being held.