As we head into the weekend it seems that the top story this week is the apparent end to the Peace Talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Perhaps that could be broken down to say that the influence of the White House upon Israel is the embarrassment now of the Obama Administration.
In other words – what happened to Mr. Netanyahu in Washington several months back has now returned upon Mr. Obama.
So… what's happening?
It seems America's policy towards the Israelis and Palestinians has been thrown into a state of disorganization.
Also to note, is that the influence of such tantalizing support internationally and militarily, as the offer America was willing to give for the three month construction freeze, was snubbed by Netanyahu to keep him afloat politically.
So with a thud – the reality of the Middle East has replaced the hope of the peace process.
Barring some top level peace negotiations quietly going on behind this despairing backdrop – America is embarrassed, the Israelis will build, and the Palestinians will go to the Arab League and complain about the situation they can do nothing about.
I suppose what worries some the most is that this situation plays into the hands of the extremists. With so much instability in this region, this is not what is supposed to be happening.
Israel's current government is right wing and can even shift further to the right next election. That means even less of a chance to bring about peace. And on the Palestinian side you have got a frustrated Mahmoud Abbas who's leadership is already faltering and frankly, he is tired of all this. And one can point out Hamas controlled Gaza – and the influence it has upon the people of the West Bank.
So what now?
Well, perhaps the answer lies in what I see everyday. In my to'ing and fro'ing I drive by the US Consulate where convoys are readied to shuttle diplomats back and forth between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
That looks set to continue as we head into a new year with no end in sight of the conflict that has plagued this region for decades.
Middle East Correspondent