The US envoy arrives at a time when Israelis and Palestinians seem most absorbed with fixing their own houses before dealing with their neighbors.
The controversial leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party endorsed Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday, virtually ensuring that a right-wing coalition will govern the country.
He cautiously accepted an invitation to a Palestinian dinner.
Among the scores of Palestinian prisoners who Hamas wants freed in exchange for Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit is Marwan Barghouti, the most popular man in Fatah.
Positions that suggest little flexibility may simply be a strong opening bid by those who have the ear of Iran's leaders.