Shortly after returning from Cairo on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a Likud Central Committee gathering, "It is time to move the peace process forward."
"I was very encouraged by the commitment of [Egyptian] President [Hosni] Mubarak toward promoting the peace process between us and the Palestinians," Netanyahu said. "I expect and hope to see such readiness on part of the Palestinian Authority."
The premier spoke shortly after returning from Cairo, where he met with the Egyptian president, his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit for nearly three hours.
Netanyahu went on to praise security forces for their operation in Nablus on Saturday, aimed at apprehending the murderers of Rabbi Meir Chai, during which three Aksa Martyrs' Brigade men were killed. He stressed that Israel would respond to any act of violence against its citizens.
"This government has done and is doing important things in terms of security," Netanyahu said. "There were years when a Kassam would fall, and then another, followed by a missile, then another missile, sometimes a mortar shell, in an open or populated area. The drizzle turned into rain and eventually the rain became a storm.
"We operate differently; we will not accept shooting towards our territory calmly - our response to every launch is immediate and decisive," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister also called on the international community to immediately impose tough sanction on Iran in order to halt Teheran's nuclear program.
"This issue will certainly be on our agenda and the whole world's agenda in the near future," Netanyahu said. "If not now - when?"
AP contributed to this report