Preconditions may or may not be a major factor but prospects for Arab-Israeli negotiations concerning peace appear decidedly shaky at this point in time. Not that they have looked particularly stellar at any other.

Are these preconditions a necessity or just an excuse?

Can Palestinians enter into talks with Israelis without this quid pro quo?

Will Israelis accept the need for some preliminary gesture before any meeting of minds can take place?

Is this all a no-win scenario with everyone going home in a huff, vowing never to return until their just demands are met?

Can the rest of the world stand idly by while yet another opportunity for peace heads out the window and wanders off into the wide blue yonder?

We’ve been here so many times before and all for what? Another restating and reaffirmation of the same old positions and dogmas, a refusal to move forward because neither side really knows how to find its way, can never be sure that the next step will lead to its utter ruin or final salvation?

There are times when certain matters demand a good hard shove in the right direction. This would be a far better approach than allowing the situation to stagnate even further and root itself that much deeper into the mass of contradictions it has generated over the years.

Just as in natural childbirth, the emergence of new life out of old demands its fair share of deep breathing and a not insignificant amount of pushing and pulling when the need arises.