State undecided on building shelters in Sderot

Team of professionals already examining options for building a system of home shelters.

Sdeort shelter (photo credit: Amir Mizroch)
Sdeort shelter
(photo credit: Amir Mizroch)
The government has not decided whether to include building bomb shelters as a central component in the defense of Sderot and the Gaza periphery, but a team of professionals is already examining the options for building such a system, the state informed the High Court of Justice on Wednesday. The state's brief came in response to an interim decision by the High Court asking it to speed up "the process for finding solutions to the problem of defending the residents of Sderot, including providing shelters for their homes." The decision came in a hearing held on December 12 regarding a petition filed by 30 Sderot demanding that the government provide shelters for some 800 houses built in the 1960s, which, instead of having concrete roofs, have tile roofs that cannot withstand Kassam rockets. Although the attacks from Gaza have been going on for more than seven years, the government first discussed providing shelters for private homes on December 9, 2007. Since then, according to Dina Silver, acting head of the State Attorney's High Court Section, the experts "have conducted intense planning and research on the shelter issue." Silver emphasized that the government had not decided whether to actually build the shelters. She said the decision involved a long list of considerations, including "security implications, implications for Israel's image and its deterrent capacity, implications regarding the fortitude of the area's residents, and various financial implications." Not only that, but a decision to build shelters in Sderot and the Gaza periphery would set a precedent for other parts of the country "who are already or will be in the future under a missile threat. We may point out that these areas could be very large," Silver said. She added that the state's basic position was that "the proper response to operations against the civilian population is not limited to building shelters. It involves a much broader concept of the fortitude of the residents in the face of the threats. This fortitude - and not building shelters - is the key concept."