‘Speaking in Paris on Monday after a meeting with the Arab League, US Secretary of State John Kerry said talks between Israelis and Palestinians were intensifying and that all core issues were on the table.’

Does this mean that fresh developments have taken place and these discussions will soon be on the point of delivering some upbeat progress report?

Or is this a diplomatic way of saying that both sides are still poles apart, the issues are just as divisive as ever and the likelihood of next year producing a final settlement remains exceedingly doubtful?

If all these meetings and get-togethers amount to no more than a playing for time, a desperate hope for something positive to emerge from nine months of parley and intense wrangling, then a lot of effort may well have been expended for nothing.

The main stumbling block in such deliberations is the fact that all of them are balanced on a knife-edge, neither side wanting to relinquish any rights, advantages or claims without some matching quid pro quo in return. A deadlock in peace talks here reflects the same lack of positive movement that the subject matter itself seems to favour; no possibility of compromise, no agreement, no way out.

In circumstances that have changed little or not at all in generations, a truly massive shakeup in their wayward course has long been needed. If the overall situation is ever to be resolved in some absolute and timely manner, then the means and nerve to make it so must be found.

And these can only come from within all of us and by working together in common cause.

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