The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barak Obama, visited Sderot yesterday during his brief visit to Israel, which included a visit to the home of the Amar family, which had sustained a direct hit by a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
Obama later visited the police station in the city, where he toured the "Qassam Museum" containing the remains of hundreds of rockets fired at the city.
He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter.
In contrast to his speeches before American audiences, Obama was careful in his words when talking to the citizens of Sderot. In reference to the rocket attacks, Obama said that "I think that no country would accept missiles landing on the heads of its citizens."
Obama emphasized Israel's security, saying, "I came to Sderot with a commitment to Israel's security. Israel has the right to defend itself, and peace should not undermine its security."
He expressed his admiration for the citizens of Sderot who remained in place even though their homes had come under fire. "Israelis must not suffer a threat to their lives, to their schools," he said, adding that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that."
He also said that all U.S. presidents recognize that the government of Israel is commited to the security of its people, "but I think that there is now a window of opportunity that should be exploited. On the Palestinian side there is a moderate leadership, and the two peoples are frustrated with the current reality and this is an opportunity."
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