All this recent talk of Arab-Israeli negotiation and settlement proposals must assume the delivery and continued presence of two very crucial factors. With these at hand, there is then a better than even chance of successfully bringing so long-standing and violent a dispute to an end.

 

These are:

1. The degree of motivation that drives the need for such a dialogue.

2. The ability to maintain the conversation while others seek to subvert it, either by fair means or foul.

After 65 years of conflict affecting all sectors of society, motivation may be judged as in being well and truly in place but the second stipulation has always proved the downfall of every attempt to close out the conflict.

 

Can any agreement on talks about peace be seen on the political horizon at the moment?

The answer is NO.

Can any guarantee be given that, even if such talks do start, they will, at some stage, be able to secure a final, binding agreement on major issues and future plans?

The answer is NO.

Can any agreement, even one that might actually be reached, expect to be received and honoured by all segments of Arab and Israeli people?

The answer is NO.

Can any agreement be generated while conditions and mindsets remain at their present toxic levels and no moves are made to dilute them or radically reduce their influence to what would have to be virtually zero?

The answer is NO.

Then when will the answer ever be YES?

For that to happen, we may all need to look again at the question but this time from a totally different point of view.

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This must now be the only agreement from which a reluctant but unified YES might well issue forth. If not, then the future is very dark indeed and little or no ‘light unto the nations’ can be expected in all the years ahead.