President Shimon Peres said Monday that Israel needed the US Congress’s bipartisan support in promoting peace with the Palestinians. In a meeting with a delegation of 26 senior Republican members of the House led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Peres said that the path to peace was hard on both sides, but Israel needed to make “difficult decisions that will shape our future.”

“You arrived in Israel at a time that we are forced to make tough decisions. Your presence here is important for us. The US is made up of Democrats and Republicans, but when it comes to Israel the US support crosses party lines,” said Peres.

The president also thanked the legislators for taking a firm stance on Iran. “Sanctions are important to the whole world in its fight against Iran becoming a nuclear power and a center for terrorist activity.”

“Over the past week, we have witnessed the many challenges Israel experiences on its path to peace. We came here to support Israel and strengthen its ties with the US,” said Cantor. Regarding the planned release of Palestinian prisoners, Cantor said it demonstrated Israel’s willingness to make difficult sacrifices in order to bring about peace.

The congressmen are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.

According to the AIPAC-affiliated charity that organized the congressmen’s one-week trip in Israel, it aims to provide “first-hand knowledge of the US-Israel relationship and critical issues facing American policymakers in the Middle East.”

Besides the high-level meetings with Israeli and Palestinians leaders, the US politicians are also slated to meet with military officials, academics, journalists and ordinary citizens. Their one-week tour takes them to several sites throughout the country, including the borders with Lebanon, Gaza, Jordan and Syria.

Last week a group of 37 Democrats participated in a similar visit.