Peres: Hamas will pay for firing rockets at kids

Three rockets fall in South as school year begins; president visits embattled Sha'ar Hanegev, says "if they fire, we will fire."

President Shimon Peres during a meeting in Toronto 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
President Shimon Peres during a meeting in Toronto 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Shimon Peres told students at Shaar HaNegev Technological High School on Monday that there would be “strong repercussions from Israel” if Hamas continues firing rockets at Israeli children.
Referring to the four rockets that had been fired into the South in recent days, two of them quite close to the rocketproof educational facility – Peres said that he could not understand the stupidity of the ongoing rocket campaign, and warned that if the people in Gaza will continue in their attempts to destroy Israel, there will be no choice but to retaliate, and Israel will destroy them.
“If they fire, we will fire,” Peres said.
“Hamas and all terrorist organizations affiliated with Hamas in Gaza will pay the price for trying to harm innocent people and disrupt the opening of the school year in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas needs to know that there will be strong repercussions from Israel if it persists in firing rockets at Israeli children,” said the president.
The president was received by students waving national flags and holding out long stemmed red roses at the school’s opening day. Shaar HaNegev Technological High School was built at a cost of NIS 110 million and has a student population of 1,200.
He praised the students and residents of the South in general for their stoicism in the face of the onslaught of rockets from Gaza and proving that, regardless of the security situation, they could continue to study, to be active and to be creative.
“The State of Israel is proud of you,” he said.
Peres, who loves to be surrounded by young people, sat down at a desk in a grade nine classroom and happily joined in the student activities, even to the extent of raising his hand when seeking permission to say something.
Aware of the rapidity with which the world is changing, Peres said that in 10 years from now, it would be unrecognizable.
It is important for Israel as a small nation that its youth grow to be more advanced than its forebears, he said.
Waxing nostalgic, Peres harked back to his own days in the ninth grade, and said he was certain that the current grade 9 would do much better than he did because it has greater potential, and, in the protected environment of the school has greater security.
Alon Shuster, the head of the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, noted that Peres could have easily gone to a school much closer to home in the Jerusalem area, but instead had opted, despite the rocket assault the previous day – to celebrate with the students of Shaar HaNegev, not just the opening of the new school year, but the opening of their new school. This was something that should not be taken for granted, Shuster said.