Hopes of a Mid-East peace deal before the end of the Bush administration appear to have been quietly put aside by certain parties involved in the process.
The so-called Mid-East Quartet is now talking about an international meeting on the situation next Spring.
The Quartet met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and a hastily-convened UN security council meeting called by the Arab countries.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was armed with a map of Israeli settlement building which he insisted blocked any possibility of a Palestinian state, risking a new cycle of violence. His supporters agreed.
Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said: â€œThe consolidation and escalation of the settlement policies and practices in the occupied territories have reached a point capable of killing any hope for a viable Palestinian state.â€
The Quartet, representing the US, the EU, Russia and the UN, has expressed its profound preoccupation with the new building in the disputed settlements, agreeing that it is having a negative impact on talks. It has called on Israel to stop construction. Equally it has called on the Palestinians to crack down more on terrorism.