WASHINGTON - U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) told Haaretz on Wednesday that the Democrats would seek to avoid a policy on Iraq that "will leave chaos and will endanger Israel."

Hoyer made his comments ahead of a planned trip to Israel, starting next Sunday, in which he accompanies a group of 20 other Democratic legislators. A similar number of Republican legislators from the House are visiting Israel this week.

Hoyer was responding to statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert some months ago, in which he expressed opposition American withdrawal from Iraq. Olmert warned against a hasty withdrawal that may undermine the balance of power in the Middle East and endanger the moderate regimes in the region.

"Those who are concerned for Israel's security, for the security of the Gulf States and for the stability of the entire Middle East should recognize the need for American success in Iraq and responsible exit," Olmert said in remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in March 2007.

Hoyer now says he doesn't think that "the current policy" in Iraq is "sustainable," but considers Israel's position on the matter of a withdrawal to be of "great importance." He predicts that this subject will come up during next week's trip to Israel.

More specifically, Hoyer says he'd want to understand the position of the newly appointed Defense Minister Ehud Barak on this matter, and also mentioned General Amos Gilad of the Defense Ministry as someone whose position on this matter he would invite.

More from this interview will appear on Rosner's Domain and in the Week's End supplement this Friday.

More on Israel's position regarding Iraq can be found here.