Mr. Kerry’s appeal for American Jews, Israelis, Palestinians and others to back his efforts in kick-starting yet one more Middle East peace initiative seems doomed to failure. But, with so much political and possible future economic capital tied up in the project, why should this be so?

It’s rather like trying to cold-start a car engine when there’s not quite enough cranking power in the battery and the temperature outside continues plummeting towards zero and beyond. If the engine oil is thick and sluggish from long disuse, it can become semi-frozen and does not flow anywhere near so freely as it should.

What then to do?

Call on passers-by to push-start the vehicle?                       Too cold for that and so nobody feels inclined to help.

Wait until the weather improves and try again?                   Fine, as long as no one is in any great hurry to get going.

Jump-start the vehicle from another car?                                               But, if there are no other cars about, what then?

As a last resort, the only thing left to do might be to light a fire under the engine compartment. Dangerous, risky and certainly not recommended by the AA (or even the AAA). But a warmed-up engine starts much more easily than a cold one; any driver will confirm this to be so.

With this snippet of info on motor mechanics in mind, can there be any way to heat up or pre-warm the engine that Mr. Kerry’s honest but still unsuccessful attempts have so far failed to ignite?

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Light this fire under that engine and no way will it not start. In fact, switching the thing off might easily become just as problematic as was turning it on in the first place. Which should be OK with most of us, especially as this journey will still have many more miles to go before it finally ends.

But a good start will have been made and that is generally considered to be half the battle.