America's new envoy to the UN has told Israel to investigate allegations that it violated international law during its recent assault on the Gaza Strip.
A shift in tempo had been widely expected after the apparent favouritism of former president George Bush, who was criticised for his unwillingness to restrain the Jewish state over the course of its bloody 23-day war.
Making her debut speech before the UN Security Council, US ambassador Susan Rice set the new mood by saying that while some allegations lacked credibility, others had more substance and must be investigated.
"We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate, and we also call upon all members of the international community to refrain from politicising these important issues," Ms Rice told delegates.
She acknowledged that Hamas was guilty of violating international law through its use of human shields and its targeting of Israeli civilians.
But in a marked shift from the rhetoric previously adopted under the Bush administration, the new US envoy told the Security Council that the "numerous allegations made against Israel" must be investigated.
She went on to single out the "tragic suffering of Palestinian civilians, who require urgent humanitarian and reconstruction assistance".
Israel has long enjoyed a special relationship with America, with both sides waging a war against Islamist extremism. Of the 13 million Jews around the world, some 5.3 million currently reside in the US.
In the Arab world, however, many believe this preferential treatment results in America turning a blind eye to disproportionate Israeli strikes.
At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza assault, with reports suggesting as many as 700 of them were civilians. By comparison just 13 Israelis died during the conflict, of whom ten were soldiers.
Israel insists the high civilian death toll arose from Hamas' tactic of sheltering among civilian populations. It used the same justification for firing on UN installations, including schools housing refugees.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has already announced plans to launch an inquiry into the bombing of UN sites during the Gaza conflict.
Has Ambassador Rice set a new course for the Middle East, or will her words fall on deaf ears? Leave a comment below and have your voice heard.