Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday said he would "give negotiations with Palestinians a chance," the country's top-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on its website.
In his speech at a special Knesset session marking the 12th anniversary of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, Olmert said he would give a chance to a dialogue with the Palestinians, just like Rabin had done at the time.
"I don't know if we are completely ready for peace, but I know that it is my duty as prime minister in Israel to do all I can to advance these times or at least to try and bring them closer, as Yitzhak Rabin believed and wished," Olmert said.
An international peace conference, proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush in July, is expected to be held next month in the U.S., which will bring Israel, the Palestinians and some neighboring Arab states together to help resume the stalled Middle East peace talks.
Olmert said Israelis will attend the conference "with eyes open, level-headed and careful," but "giving a chance to a dialogue between us and the Palestinians."
On Nov. 4, 1995, a religious ultra-nationalist Yigal Amir, gunned down Rabin by three bullets into his back as the prime minister was leaving a peace rally in Tel Aviv.
On Wednesday afternoon, Israel held a state ceremony in the cemetery at Mount Herzl to mark the 12th anniversary of Rabin's assassination. Following the ceremony, the Knesset plenum convened for a special memorial meeting.
The state ceremonies were held on the Hebrew calendar date. An annual memorial ceremony will also be held on Nov. 3 in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where the assassination occurred.