Katsav persuades Sderot hunger strikers to change tactics

President Moshe Katsav met on Monday with hunger strikers in Sderot who have been protesting the government's failure to stop the Kassam rocket bombardments on their town and urged them to pursue their struggle in a way that did not put their health at risk. Many of the strikers agreed to do as he asked. Katsav said the ongoing rocket attacks in the aftermath of the withdrawal from Gaza left Israel with no option other than a military response. He told the strikers to put their trust in the IDF. Katsav blamed the rocket attacks on the Palestinian leadership, saying that it was irrelevant which "renegades" actually launched the rockets. If the Palestinian Authority government could not control them, then it bore full responsibility for their actions, he said. Another Kassam rocket landed in Sderot soon after Katsav's arrival for a meeting with Mayor Eli Moyal and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, without causing injury or damage.