Olmert: Imagine a terror attack in your city

Olmert asks int'l mayors to empathize with terror victims, reiterates commitment to "the path to peace."

"Imagine what would happen in your city if a terror attack such as [the one in Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on Thursday] took place," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked hundreds of mayors from across the world during a Twin City conference at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Monday. "Despite terrorism and despite the pain, we are not relinquishing the monumental task of making another dramatic step that can bring us closer to building the foundations for true peace between Israel and the Palestinians," Olmert said. The prime minister also mentioned his turbulent years as mayor of Jerusalem during the height of the second intifada, which "were years of incessant work against dozens of murderous terror attacks in the streets of the city." "Last Thursday Jerusalem was witness to an additional murderous act," Olmert said. "A terrorist penetrated the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and fired indiscriminately with an automatic weapon. This took place at a time when the students were making the final preparations for a party celebrating the new month of Adar, a month during which we are ordered to celebrate and be happy. "Unfortunately, he succeeded in realizing his malicious intentions and murdered eight Torah students in cold blood, in the heart of the yeshiva, in the heart of Jerusalem, in a place where we thought nothing bad would happen to any Jew who studies Torah," continued the prime minister. "Imagine for a moment what would happen in your cities if, God forbid, a similar terror attack took place," he told the mayors. "Ask yourselves, if eight young men, students in your cities, had been brutally murdered in the name of religious extremism - how would you react? How would you feel? What would you say to your residents? "Who would not be afraid of a situation where his city was threatened by rockets?" added Olmert. "Who would not want to react when faced with such a threat? We have never stopped struggling for our lives. The intention of terror organizations by shooting Kassams is identical to that of the terrorist last Thursday - to make our lives unbearable. "They wish to run us off the path to peace, but there is no chance that they'll succeed," he said. Union of Local Authorities in Israel (ULAI) chairman and Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar, reaching out to the mayors of Palestinian towns who were invited but chose not to attend, emphasized the ULAI's "commitment to promote peace." "I call upon our brothers, Palestinian mayors, who were invited to attend but who chose not to participate, to reach out for peace together in order to restore this region to the glory of biblical times, when it was the cradle of civilization," Eldar said. Eldar also bestowed upon Olmert an award for providing substantial support to local authorities in Israel.