The Secretary of State returns to the Middle East shortly after the holidays end to continue pursuing his White Whale.

Palestinian sources tell the AFP that John Kerry will spend "a number of days" in the Middle East, starting on January 4, for another round of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Kerry will "discuss the peace process and negotiations with Israel," the source said, during his tenth visit to the region since March.

Kerry has aggressively pursued what many think is impossible since becoming the top U.S. diplomat and, if you listen to him, the Massachusetts-native might be on the right track. On December 6, just after his ninth visit, Kerry said the two sides were "closer than we have been in years" to a deal. "The naysayers are wrong to call peace in this region an impossible goal," Kerry told reporters at the time

The two countries agreed to nine months of peace negotiations, a deal brokered by Kerry that expires in April 2014. The two sides have sparred publicly during the talks, but you can't exactly expect them to start playing nice right away. These things take time. Israel is expected to release another round of Palestinian prisoners next week, a condition under the peace talk deal. Very little is known about what a deal might look like.