Israel continued to strike the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Dec. 31, and Hamas continued to send rockets into Israel, despite assorted calls for a cease-fire.
As the conflict has wound on, Barack Obama has enjoyed the luxury of silence. His aides explain that this is because "there is only one president at a time," although this convention has not prevented the president-elect from having a fair bit to say since Nov. 4 about bailouts, stimulus plans and other domestic issues.
Still, there is clearly a case to be made that in sensitive matters of foreign policy, more so than the purely domestic, America ought to speak with a single voice.
But on Jan. 20, that voice will be Obama's. And the world will then start to discover what approach Obama will take towards the problems of Israel and Palestine, the source of so much tension in the Middle East and beyond.
Will he invest the full powers of the presidency in the search for peace there, as Bill Clinton did, in the end to little effect? Will he instinctively shy away from the problem, as George Bush did, at any rate to begin with?
Or will he try for something wholly new, which might mean finding creative ways to lessen the perception that America is first and foremost a friend to Israel rather than a wholly dispassionate and honest broker?
It is still remarkably hard to be sure, but the chances are that the Middle East will remain, if not on the back-burner, then some way off from the front one.
With America apparently in the grip of the most serious recession since the Depression of the 1930s, it is reasonable to assume that Obama will simply have less time than Clinton had to deploy on foreign affairs of all sorts.
Blessed with a booming economy (and anxious to divert attention from scandal), Clinton was happy to cast himself as a foreign-policy president. With the Soviet empire gone, and China not yet risen, America enjoyed heady days of global power and influence.
But even Clinton could not get Yasser Arafat to sign up to the framework that he laid down for a durable peace in the Middle East, based on a broad return to 1967 boundaries, an agreement to share Jerusalem and no more than a token right of return for displaced Palestinians.
Unless Obama has something surprising up his sleeve, these "Clinton parameters" will remain the basis for any future negotiations, as, in practice, they have done throughout the Bush years.
The appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state is, at least to the cynical, further evidence that Obama will not expend much energy of his own on the Middle East. What better way, after all, to neutralize a once and potential future rival than by letting her get bogged down in the quicksand of Palestine?
It is not even clear that the new administration will adopt a different tone to the outgoing one. Obama has given every indication that he, just like Bush, will be reluctant to criticize Israel when it uses (arguably) disproportionate force in retaliation to attacks by its enemies.
He said in July, for instance, that "if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."
If Israel were to become enmeshed in operations on the scale of those seen in Lebanon in 2006, would Obama still refrain from using the D-word? The silence of Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, over Lebanon worsened America's reputation in Arab eyes.
A number of big questions remain unanswered about Obama's Middle Eastern intentions. It is not yet clear, for instance, who will be the new main negotiators on the issue, although he is currently being advised by a clutch of Clinton-era experts which does not seem to presage much in the way of change.
And what will be Obama's attitude to Hamas, which was after all democratically elected by the Palestinians to govern the West Bank as well as Gaza?
Israel recognizes that Hamas won the election but -- along with America, the European Union and Russia -- says that Hamas must renounce violence in favor of diplomacy and accept Israel's right to exist as a part of a two-state solution.
Obama will soon have to provide some answers.