Hillary Clinton has said that “there are lots of ways” for peace talks to proceed between Israel and the Palestinians despite concerns that the upcoming expiry of the West Bank construction freeze will derail the negotiations.
The partial ban on building of Jewish settlements is scheduled to end on September 26, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had warned that he might walk out of talks if it is not extended.
On the surface nothing significant has changed. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in Washington, stuck to his proven tactic of giving nothing away until he absolutely has to.
President Mahmoud Abbas brought up all the old Palestinian demands, including the right of return. The gulf between the two sides seems as wide as ever. Meanwhile, building in the settlements is set to resume in only two weeks and blow up talks that have barely resumed.
But something has changed.
Israelis who returned from the Washington summit have shed their outer layer of cynicism.
"The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives"
The murder of four residents of the Beit Hagai settlement on the dark, winding road from Hebron was almost expected - as was the settlers' reaction.
Just two days earlier, the IDF Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, had met the commanders of the Judea and Samaria Division and warned them to be on the look-out for attempts to disrupt the opening of the direct peace talks in Washington.