With its pomp and ceremony, a US presidential inauguration is frequently touted here as an inspiring example for less fortunate countries of peaceful and orderly transitions of power.But was the PLO invited to the 2009 ceremony?
But one diplomat from a people long denied statehood, in some ways as a direct result of US policy, had no seat at the festivities yesterday.
"You know it's a funny thing," said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian envoy to Washington, about not receiving an invitation to Mr Obama's swearing-in. "Technically we are not on their diplomatic list because we are not recognised as a full-fledged state.
"When we checked last they told us that because we changed addresses and emails," he said, his voice trailing off. "It could be technical, it could be logistical. But I don't feel angry."
...Mr Areikat, in the face all facts to the contrary, believes that Middle East peace is still a core US interest and that Mr Obama's second term holds glimmers of promise.
John Kerry's nomination for secretary of state is promising because he is an advocate of a strong US role in the Middle East and in resolving its conflicts, he added. "But presidential involvement in any effort is crucial."
Mr Areikat also sees opportunity in the US policy of engagement with the new democracies of the Middle East, especially Egypt.