Right now, after this first batch of Gazan and West Bank prisoners have been released, to say that mixed feelings and reactions exist on both sides of the Israeli and Palestinian divide is no more than stating the obvious.

Palestinians seem overjoyed to have their people back while Israelis must ponder the wisdom of a policy so very much held hostage to what will happen in the weeks and months ahead.

With his star considerably in the ascendant, Mr. Abass can look forward to further such scenes of jubilation and Israelis can only hope that these talks will hold, going on to achieve a success so elusive that, after nearly seven decades of conflict, nothing like it has ever been seen before.

But, of course, there is still a long road to travel and the way ahead will not be all plain sailing. It’s not even that now and so how things will fare in the future cannot be assessed with any degree of certainty.

Unless

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Man’s faltering steps towards peace may yet need the services of a big stick to clear his path and defend him on this journey into the unknown.

Give me but one firm spot upon which to stand, a lever long enough, and I will move the earth.” ― Archimedes