Olmert: We Can't Stop Rocket Fire

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CBNNews.com - During a visit Tuesday to the coastal city of Ashkelon, the latest target of Palestinian rocket fire, the prime minister said Israel has no way of preventing rocket attacks from recurring.

"Don't conduct ourselves as though Grad rocket attacks were not a one-time thing. This has been Israel's reality for the past 60 years," Olmert told board members at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center, which treats many rocket attack victims. "This demands restraint as well as strength," he said.

"There is no point in comparing the situation to Sderot or other towns that have sustained rocket fire for years," he said, responding to officials' remarks that Barzilai's hospital is not fortified against Grad missile attacks.

"The Grad [missile] is heavier than the Kassam [rocket], and we have no way of preventing these things [attacks] from recurring," he said.

From the medical center, Olmert visited Harel Elementary School, where one fourth grader had a practical suggestion he'd heard from his dad.

"My dad said we should have some sort of button so every time a Kassam is fired, it will fire back at them," he said.

"Well, I think we're going to have that patented," Olmert responded.

In the event of a direct hit on the school, children would not have enough time to get to the only fortified room at the school -- the computer lab -- within the 15-second timeframe between the alarm siren and the hit.

"We don't have enough time to get to the shelter so we hide under our desks," one boy told the prime minister, who asked the children to demonstrate for him.

Ashkelon's Deputy Mayor Levi Shafran told Olmert the city's 26,000 students have nothing but a desk to protect them from rocket attacks.

"As you've seen with your own eyes during the drill we conducted in the class you visited, the children's only protection [from rocket and missile attacks] is their desks," Shafran said.

"[The government] must protect, not fortify. It must deal with the Kassams and Grads and not fortify the city with a budget that's equal to what the city spends in 15 years," he said.

Just after Olmert's entourage left Ashkelon, Gaza-based Palestinians successfully targeted the city with a Grad missile. There were no injuries.

Source: YNet news service

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