Hoyer blames Palestinians for stall in peace talks

Palestinians are to blame for a stall in peace talks with Israelis, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday.

Speaking in Jerusalem, the second-ranking House Democrat said that Palestinian "preconditions" for negotiations with Israel were the "largest thing" blocking negotiations from going forward.

"I think the largest thing impeding the negotiations at this point is simply the unwillingness of [Palestinian president Mahmoud] Abbas to sit down [with the Israelis]," Hoyer said, as reported by Agence France Presse (AFP).

Palestianians have said that Israel must stop expanding its West Bank settlements before the two parties can meet again at the bargaining table.

"The United States' policy has been for a stop to any additional settlements," Hoyer said. "That is a thorny, tough issue...It's an issue that has to be solved at the negotiating table."

29 Democrats, led by Hoyer, are on a trip to Israel this week. Last week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) led a delegation of Republicans to Israel.