Barack Obama urged Israel to take whatever steps it needs to stop rocket fire from Gaza.
“I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on its citizens,” Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, said during a stop Wednesday at the police station in Sderot, the southern Israeli city that has been plagued by rockets fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza.
“If someone was sending rockets on my house where my daughters were sleeping at night, I would do everything to stop it,” added the U.S. senator from Illinois, who spoke in front of book shelves filled with mangled Kassam rockets that had been fired into the area by Gazan Palestinians. “And I encourage Israel to do the same.”
Obama toured the city with the Israeli chief of police, as well as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He spent much of the day meeting with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem and Palestinian officials in Ramallah, and also visited a family whose home was damaged by rockets.
Obama reiterated his support for Israel’s refusal to negotiate with Hamas.
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) visited Sderot on a March trip to Israel, where he expressed his support for Israel. McCain did not meet with Palestinian leaders during his Middle East visit.