Two ships of state are headed directly toward each other at an average rate of 75 deaths per month.
The first ship, which we will call I., has many captains and no rudder. It is slowly but inexorably sinking from the corrosive effects of corruption, callousness and exhaustion. The second ship, which we will call P., has two full crews, each in full mutiny against the other. It is sinking at a somewhat faster rate, unable to feed its passengers, unable to alter its fate.
For your matriculation, answer the following question, showing your work: What is the probability that both ships will sink before they next have a chance to collide?
Extra credit: Arab leaders have been speaking of creating an independent Palestine for more than a century. Four of the last five Israeli prime ministers have endorsed the concept and spoken of fostering it. The world community recognizes that there should be such a state. So does President George W. Bush. And a billion Muslims believe that there must be such a state.
Why is there no Palestine? ...
13 reasons follow. No one comes out clean. The piece concludes:
13. And because the Holy Land is the world capital of wishful thinking.
Deep down, both sides secretly believe that they will get what they have wanted all along, whether it's Greater Israel or Greater Palestine, complete sovereignty over Jerusalem or the right of return.
After a century of struggle, the Palestinians deserve better. The Palestinians deserve a nation. But after a century of struggle, they now face their worst test since 1948.
Their ship of state needs a painful refitting, and a radical and perhaps terrifying change of course. As a people, the Palestinians are now facing their matriculation. If they can address their long list of problems head on, they can return to the path of independence. But skip the problems, or get the problems wrong, and Palestinian nationhood may be just one more dream ground into the dust in Gaza.