Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister sat next to Barack Obama, the US president, in the oval office and for the second time in 24 hours rejected Obama's endorsement of a peace deal with the Palestinians based on 1967 borders.
Obama on the other hand made no mention of that vision, instead he said that while differences remain between the US and Israel, in the end the two countries are close allies committed to bringing in a "new period of peace and prosperity in the Middle East."
When Obama came to power he said that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would be a priority for his administration. He appointed the fomer senator George Mitchell as his special envoy and send Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, to Israel in March 2009, only one month after taking office.
In September 2010, the White House launched its most ambitious Middle East peace initiative to get the stalled peace process back on track by hosting direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians in Washington.
But negotiations broke down later in September when Israel refused to extend a partial moratorium on the construction of settlements. Another setback to the peace process took place in January 2011 when Israel announced the construction of 1,400 more homes in occupied East Jerusalem. The US did nothing.
As George Mitchell resigned one week ago, is that further evidence of a peace process that is going nowhere?So, how important was Obama's public endorsement? Are we witnessing just more talk or will Obama's speech and his meeting with Netanhayu lead to real change?
This special episode of Inside Story aired from Friday, May 20, 2011.