Quote of the day via the UK's Channel Four News:
Mr Cheney, speaking to reporters after arriving in Jerusalem for a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: "America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakeable.What, not ever, over anything no matter how small or how remote the threat?
"The United States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.".
The tail wags the dog, and the prospect of Middle East compromise gets shaken off like an unwanted flea.
Update The BBC and Associated Press follow up. Both think Cheney's more interested in bolstering Israel's campaign to have it's proxy superpower attack Iran on its behalf. The AP has some expert thoughts on ramifications for the peace process.
Edward Abbington, a former U.S. consul general in Jerusalem and now an adviser to Abbas, said the mood among the Palestinians in Ramallah was grim. Neither the Israelis or Palestinians are convinced that Cheney is an integral player in the peace process, he said.
"They told me when I was in Ramallah they had no idea why Cheney was even coming to see them," Abbington said. "The Israelis are more interested in what Cheney has to say about Iran and blessing their continued strikes against Gaza than anything he has to say about the peace process."
There are three other diplomatic initiatives aimed at achieving a peace deal that the United States has been tightlipped about. Russia has floated the idea of a Moscow conference as a follow-up to Annapolis. The Egyptians are playing middleman in a pair of negotiations between Israel and Hamas and between Hamas and Abbas' moderate Fatah party. Yemen also is working to mediate talks between Hamas and Fatah.
"I would not expect Cheney to have a lot to say about any of these, simply because while the U.S. attitude ranges between sharp suspicion and quiet acquiescence to these initiatives, they appear to be dying on their own," said Nathan Brown, an expert on Arab politics at George Washington University in Washington.