Reaction to the news from Annapolis has, like the expectations beforehand, been muted.
Half a world away, in the cafés and bars of Tel Aviv many Israelis did not interrupt their evening’s entertainment to watch as the launch of the negotiations was announced.
For them, peace with the Palestinians still lies a long way off:
“Nothing is happening. Nobody cares about it. Every is outside and sitting in a coffee shop. Nobody really cares about it” said one man.
Hamas has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Annapolis talks but among these Palestinians watching in Nablus there was a guarded optimism:
“We hope there will be concrete developments. We have already seen other accords like Oslo, Camp David and the Road Map come and go. Nothing came from them. There was no flexibility on behalf of the Israelis or the US:”
Experts say US backing and the threat of further and more bloody violence means the Annapolis effort must be taken seriously.
The first meeting is due to take place on December the 12th.