It seems that this latest Arab-Israeli peace initiative is entering what may be its final phase. Either something can be done to salvage it from its current and somewhat moribund state or the whole thing goes down the tubes, the entire situation advanced no further forward than where it was before.

But, if everyone finds themselves back at square one with absolutely nothing to show for all the flurry of recent diplomatic activity, any favourable conjunction of peace feelers and portents that might next make an appearance will probably fare just as badly, if not worse. Failure here only confirms yet again the intractable nature of the problem and its stubbornness to respond even in the face of the most determined and well-meaning of efforts to close it down.

Here in the UK, the tennis season is just about to start and all matches played will eventually be decided in one way or another. Sometimes these will be a straight sets win, a long five-setter or possibly forfeiture through injury or illness. Very occasionally, a match may drag on for days without result if the players are of equal skill and stamina. This puts great strain on the players and sometimes the spectators as well. In the US Open, this state of affairs is avoided largely by having a tie-breaker at the end of every set, even the very last one.

Maybe, after what will be the umpteenth peace initiative here, the Israeli-Palestinian match really needs a similar arrangement; a tie-breaker that forces a conclusion no matter what the circumstances or how good or bad each side is perceived to be.

The ultimate tie-breaker in a contest that has gone on for far too long and has taken a heavy toll of both players and spectators alike.