U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama has vowed staunch support for Israel, saying he would not press it into making peace concessions that would compromise its security.
The Democratic senator spoke while touring Israel Wednesday. He said he hopes he can serve as an effective partner -- whether as U.S. president or as a senator -- to bring about a more lasting peace in the region.
Obama also reaffirmed his position that Jerusalem will be Israel's capital. But he said Israelis and Palestinians will determine Jerusalem's final status, and that it is not a matter for the U.S. to dictate.
Obama spent Wednesday meeting with Israeli leaders and traveling to the rocket-battered town of Sderot in southern Israel. He also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and pledged support for the Palestinians.
Obama did not meet with anyone from Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza and is blamed for most of the cross-border rocket fire into Israel.
His rival for the U.S. presidency, Republican Senator John McCain, did not meet with Palestinian leaders when he visited Israel in March.
While touring in Israel, Obama placed a memorial wreath at Yad Vashem, which honors those killed in the Holocaust. He hailed the Jewish state as a "miracle."
Obama traveled from the United States to Afghanistan several days ago, and he ended the Middle East phase of his trip Wednesday after stops in Iraq, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. He is scheduled to head to Germany next, to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and deliver a speech in Berlin on trans-Atlantic relations.