JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Sunday to respond "severely" to the Gaza fighters' rocket strikes as Tony Blair made his first visit to the war-battered enclave as Middle East Quartet envoy. "If the rocket fire from Gaza continues, we will hit back severely, so much so that the fighter organisations will understand that Israel is not ready to resign itself to this," Olmert said at the weekly cabinet meeting. "Defence Minister Ehud Barak will give directions so that Israeli forces bring calm to southern Israel," the outgoing premier said. A rocket fired from Gaza slammed into empty ground south of the Israeli port city of Ashkelon on Sunday, causing neither casualties nor damage, after a volley of seven rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel on Saturday. Egyptian-mediated efforts to bring a lasting truce to Gaza have so far come to nothing, with sporadic rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes continuing since the offensive ended on January 18. International donors are meeting in Egypt on Monday (today) to discuss efforts to rebuild the impoverished Gaza Strip, which has been all but cut off from the outside world since Hamas seized control in June 2007. On the eve of the aid conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, former British prime minister Blair made his first visit to Gaza since June 2007, when he became the Middle East Quartet envoy. "I wanted to come to hear for myself first-hand from people in Gaza, whose lives have been so badly impacted by the recent conflict," Blair said during a visit to a UN school in the northern town of Beit Hanun. "These are the people who need to be the focus of all our efforts for peace and progress from now on." The Middle East Quartet - the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the US - is to meet on the sidelines of the Sharm conference, with Israeli-Palestinian peace talks frozen since the Gaza war. Israeli President Shimon Peres said the billions of dollars expected to be pledged for Gaza should be given to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, not Hamas. "(Peres) requested that Europe emphasise that money for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip be directed to the Palestinian Authority and the bodies of the United Nations in order to best help improve the lives of Palestinian citizens," said a statement from his office. "President Peres cautioned that in the past, a great deal of European money has been wasted in vain and diverted to supporting Palestinian terror activities," it said. The Quartet has refused to have dealings with Hamas, saying it must first renounce violence, recognise Israel and agree to abide by past peace deals. British International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander also visited Gaza on Sunday, on the first trip there by a British minister since the Hamas takeover. He pledged 43 million dollars towards rebuilding Gaza and called on Israel to open the borders of the territory where he said he was "horrified by the scale of human suffering." John Ging, the Gaza director of the UN refugee agency, said he hoped the visits had convinced decision-makers to change their "failed policies" and lift the blockade on the territory, where most of the 1.4 million residents depend on foreign aid. "We rest our case now, there is nothing more to say. They have seen it and now it's up to them to live up to their responsibility to actually change it," he said.