The news from the West Bank is bad today and tomorrow may bring even worse.

But, in many ways, this is not so surprising since the situation itself can do little more than nurture such violent confrontation.

Two societies, divided by religion, history, culture, language, philosophy and each with their own vision of manifest destiny, are locked together on one small section of this planet and in one apparently continual round of conflict. This has been ongoing for the best part of seven decades and still no let up in the struggle appears to be anywhere in sight. The Great and the Good have visited, advised, suggested and pleaded with both sides to desist from violence and yet the dividend from all these efforts has been minimal. At best, it is often only wishful thinking; at worst, it registers as no better than lip-service or prolongs matters so much that they become more volatile than ever before.

How then will it ever be possible for such a polarised set of people to co-exist, to settle their differences amicably and move forward towards a better understanding of themselves, each other and whatever the future might hold for them?

After so long a journey without final destination, we might all do better to force the issue rather than merely observe it and thereby make some very fast inroads into a problem that was old even before time began.

Otherwise, we are in danger of becoming Jews, Christians and Muslims in name only.

Which would surely make a mockery out of this entire state of affairs ever since day one.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910