JERUSALEM  - US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday admitted there was scepticism and cynicism about his efforts to broker new talks between Israelis and Palestinians, as he made his fourth visit to Israel.

Flying in from a night of diplomacy in Amman over the war in Syria, Kerry went straight into talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he pursued his bid to kick-start negotiations frozen since late 2010.

Kerry has now visited Israel as many times in his first months in office as his predecessor Hillary Clinton did in four years as top US diplomat.

Despite public pronouncements of support from both sides, there is a growing frustration that so far there has been little to signal any shift in their long-standing positions.

Complicating efforts is the new Israeli government which has moved more towards the right and includes some members who openly oppose a two-state solution.

"There are ideological differences at the heart of the government," Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also Israel's top peace negotiator, told public radio.

The lack of talks "only serves the interests of those who think that each passing day (without a peace agreement) allows them to build a new house," she said, referring to Jewish settlement building on Palestinian territory.

"But this is not the position of the majority of Israel's population," she stressed.

Kerry, who last week was the subject of a scathing portrait in the Israeli daily Haaretz which called him "a naive and ham-handed diplomat who has been acting like a bull in the china shop," acknowledged the difficulties.

"I know this region well enough to know there is scepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism and there are reasons for it. There have been bitter years of disappointment," he said as he started talks with Netanyahu.

But he insisted: "It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities for peace."

Netanyahu vowed that his government wanted to resume the peace process. "Above all what we want to do is restart the peace talks with the Palestinians. You've been working on it a great deal, we've been working on it together," he told Kerry.

Meanwhile, Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a "priority," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on a visit to the region on Thursday, as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The Middle East peace process is... an urgent priority for the United Kingdom and to the world," he told reporters ahead of a meeting with Netanyahu.

"We welcome the very strong commitment (to reviving peace talks) shown by (US) President (Barack) Obama on his recent visit here, and by Secretary (of State John) Kerry, who is here again," Hague said.

"My visit is in support of those efforts," he said. "We urge all parties to move the process forward and to really give the bold and decisive leadership that will allow success," he stressed, adding that peace was "necessary and just and possible."

Hague and Netanyahu would also discuss the Iranian nuclear programme and the war in Syria, the two men added in separate statements, hailing Britain and Israel's "strategic" cooperation.

Hague spoke of Britain's "very strong concerns... about the nuclear programme of Iran. We pursue... sanctions and negotiations, but nobody should doubt our resolve in these matters."

Netanyahu described Iran's atomic drive as "the biggest challenge of our time." The Israeli premier also expressed his condolences for the "horrific terrorist attack against a British citizen in London," a reference to the murder of a soldier there on Wednesday. "We sympathise deeply."