It seems that, in the wake of Ariel Sharon’s passing, Mr. Netanyahu is being pressed to make a ‘courageous decision’ and, no doubt, the same sort of pressure has been applied to Mr. Abbas.

But are these ‘courageous decisions’ feasible or indeed possible given the circumstances in which both politicians and their cohorts find themselves? Or has too much water flowed under the bridge to allow for even the most tentative flotation of any new idea or change in methods?

66 years is a long time to be without a clearly defined policy for rescuing millions of people out of what has been a most intractable situation.

The enormity of such a undertaking may be too great for individuals to bear, let alone deliver. Past and present events have always blocked any serious movement towards a successful outcome and the myriad painful memories linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict make progress of even the smallest amount patently untenable.

Then the burden of effectively dealing with so stubborn a condition must be spread across the vast bulk of humanity and not left exclusively to the tender mercies of those judged to be competent or credible in this field.

The very best solution is the one that is clear for all to see. There has been too much of back-room deals and endless horse-trading for the proper development of any realistic confidence in present negotiations. Or even future ones should they still be in vogue after what is shaping up to be yet another failure in a very long line of similar stuff.

But some level of confidence – and that of a very high order – must exist if matters are ever to proceed here in any clear or coherent manner.

All else is folly.