"The United States is going to deeply engage in this process to see if we can make progress" said Obama last month in a speech on the Israel/Palestine issue. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the White House for talks on Monday, we should get a good indication of how engaged they are willing to be, including making a welcome u-turn on its policy of not defending Israel when it oversteps the mark.
The comments coming from inside the Administration look good so far, National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones making assurances that Obama would be "forceful" with Israel and Joe Biden saying that "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution. You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement."
For too long we have seen the smiles and handshakes following peace talks only for it all to fizzle out with Israel blaming the Palestinians for not being reasonable as their land is gradually stolen and there land violated and citizens murdered by military raids.
If Obama reviews his history of the one sided conflict, he will see that whoever is in the Israeli seat of power Palestinian homes continue to be bulldozed, settlement construction presses ahead and military incursions claim the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians. These policies inevitably lead to fresh conflict with Israel claiming they have no partner in peace and the vicious circle starts all over again.
Obama has the opportunity to set the parameters in which Israel operates by withholding the five billion dollar handout his country annually shovels towards it if it doesn't begin to work towards a peace settlement.
Obama has to tell them if they do not make peace they will be on their own, no military or financial help, and that will focus minds within the Israeli government more than anything as it knows that the Israeli economy would collapse if it had to fund its own military misadventures.
The thinking is that the Obama master plan will be based upon the Arab peace initiative which has been on the table since 2002 and offers diplomatic recognition of Israel by all Muslim countries in return for an end to Israeli settlement activity and withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories.
This offer has been shamefully overlooked by successive Israeli Governments and we have to hope that Obama can force Netanyahu and his Lukid Party members to take this opportunity and not just settle for the status quo which Israel seem happy to continue where they demonise, steal and kill with impunity the Palestinians and their land.
The Lukid manifesto states that 'The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river' and the extremist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, lives on one of the settlements deemed illegal by International Law so Obama will have his work cut out to bring a halt to Israeli's deep rooted and inhumane mistreatment of their neighbour.