Obama in West Bank; Rockets Fired at Israel From Gaza
Mr. Obama was expected to tell the Palestinians that the creation of a Palestinian state remains a priority for his administration.
He was not bringing a new plan to relaunch peace talks, but in meetings with the Palestinians and a speech to Israeli students later in the day, he was to appeal to both sides to halt unilateral actions that make negotiations more difficult.
Those troublesome actions include continued construction of Jewish housing settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians and repeated Palestinian efforts to achieve recognition at the United Nations in the absence of a peace agreement.
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the unwavering U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and noted there had been no fatal attacks on Israelis from the West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
That calm has not extended to Gaza, which is run by the militant Islamic Hamas movement.
As Mr. Obama began his program Thursday, Israeli police said militants in Gaza had fired two rockets at the southern town of Sderot.
One of the rockets exploded in the courtyard of a house in Sderot early in the morning, causing damage but no injuries, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The other landed in an open field. Sirens wailed in Sderot shortly after the 7 a.m. rocket attack, forcing residents on their way to work or school to run to bomb shelters.