CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - At Sunday's weekly Cabinet Meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised that by 2010, the government would provide "an appropriate answer…against Kassam rockets."
"By 2010, it will be possible to provide a fitting response to Kassams in a multilevel system that includes fortification, the Iron Dome interception system and an early-warning mechanism," Olmert stated.
"The plan is not aimed at fortifying every single housing unit and building," he said, "and there is no room for extremism."
For now, only 3,600 out of 8,000 homes within range of Kassam rockets will be lightly fortified.
Meanwhile, Israeli ballistics expert Dr. Nathan Farber has been trying to convince the Defense Ministry that the use of American Phalanx artillery batteries would provide relief within months, as opposed to the government's two-year projected solution.
American troops in Iraq have been using the guns since the summer of 2005.
Originally designed as naval guns, they were adapted to land use and have been very successful in Iraq against mortar shells and rockets.
Dr. Farber is the former chief scientist at the Israel Military Industries (IMI) missile department. He served as an anti-aircraft officer and senior intelligence officer in the Israel Air Force (IAF) and continues to work as an advisor to the IAF and the American Missile Defense Administration.
According to Dr. Farber, for less than $1 million, Israel could test the Phalanx system by deploying one or two batteries near Sderot.
If successful, for less than $50 million, Israel could purchase four to five batteries (with two guns each), train soldiers and deploy them to the field by summer.
Farber also said the Phalanx batteries will not cause damage to the environment.
"Because of their exceptionally high speed, the shells that don't hit Kassams will land in the sea," he said, "though the chances of a direct hit [on an incoming rocket or mortar shell] are high."
"Why not deploy Phalanx batteries in the meanwhile [during the two to three years before the Iron Dome is ready] and protect the residents of Sderot?" asks Dr. Farber.
Sources: YNet news service, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post