Secretary of State John Kerry got the money shot he wanted on Tuesday -- the chief negotiators for Israel and the Palestinians framed by his lanky embrace as they shook hands to launch "sustained, continuous and substantive" talks on a long-sought Middle East peace treaty.
Now the question is whether the negotiations expected to last nine months will bring an even more historic image, with President Barack Obama bringing together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to sign a final-status agreement that creates a sovereign Palestinian state in what is now part of Israel.
The Middle East dispute, perhaps the world's most intractable in the past six decades, entered a new phase with Kerry's announcement that the first direct talks in three years would proceed in earnest in the next two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian territories.
Flanked by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, Kerry said "all core issues" toward achieving a two-state solution would be on the table.
"Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months," he said.
Acknowledging the obstacles from years of hostility and mistrust, Kerry said the process would be difficult but that he believed an agreement could be achieved.
"When somebody tells you that Israelis and Palestinians cannot find common ground or address the issues that divide them, don't believe them," Kerry said, adding: "While I understand the skepticism, I don't share it and I don't think we have time for it."
Major obstacles that date back decades in the Middle East conflict include established Jewish settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians, the status of Palestinian refugees seeking to return to the region, and control of Jerusalem, particularly its Muslim holy sites.
Kerry has pushed to resume negotiations in order to stave off a showdown over the Israel-Palestinian question at the U.N. General Assembly in September.
His efforts, including multiple meetings in the region with each side in recent months, sought to assure the Israelis that their security concerns would be addressed while convincing Palestinians that an agreement was in their best long-term interest.