A large delegation of 26 members of the American Democratic party was in Israel on Wednesday.
Led by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the group held a working meeting with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Later they held a press conference in Jerusalem.
Hoyer said during the press conference that next week, two additional delegations, this time from the Republican party, will visit Israel and will be led by House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor.
“The significance of that is that Eric Cantor and I bring a bipartisan message of support for Israel and for its security and safety,” Hoyer said.
“The message we received from Mr. Netanyahu was that he is prepared today or tomorrow to go to the negotiating table without any preconditions,” added Hoyer.
Hoyer addressed the Palestinian Authority’s bid to attain unilateral recognition of a state at the UN General Assembly, calling it “a detour” that would “delay a solution [and] not enhance it.”
“I will be urging President Abbas, consistent with the understandings between the parties historically, that the only way to see progress is through bilateral negotiations between the two of them,” he added. “That’s the message I will be delivering to Mr. Abbas.”
Hoyer also spoke of the situation in Syria and said, “I think that Secretary Clinton and the President have made it clear that President Assad, through his actions has lost his legitimacy as the leader of Syria.”