CBNNews.com - SDEROT, Israel - During a visit to the rocket-beleaguered city of Sderot in southern Israel, Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain told reporters, "this is no way to spend the Purim holiday."
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak joined McCain and his traveling companions, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
At the press conference, Lindsey relayed a conversation with a mother in Sderot, who said she loves her country and is not afraid to live here.
"This is the spirit of Israeli determination," the South Carolina senator said.
During his remarks, Barak rejected recent poll results of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh increasing popularity with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
"We read the polls, but I don't believe in them personally," he said. "We treat Hamas according to its adherence to the requirements of the Quartet [United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia] and the international community," Barak said.
"Hamas must transform [itself] completely and accept these terms [laid out y the Quartet]. Before it does so, we will not talk with it. I don't see Hamas taking such steps, whether in relation to the situation in Gaza or with regard to the release of [Israeli Defense Forces Corporal] Gilad Shalit," he said.
"Once the terror emanating from Gaza ceases, the road will be open for different relations between us and our neighbors," said Barak.
Sources: YNet news, Haaretz