It’s close on two months since my latest bout of sciatica began and, although the symptoms are much diminished at present, the condition still refuses to disappear completely. Unlike previous attacks which lasted only a few days at the most, this one seems to be in favour of the long haul and with sleep deprivation as a major factor right from the very start. Even now, I wake up at least once, maybe twice, during the night.

In some ways, this reminds me of Israel’s dilemma in the Middle East, an existence of continual unease interspersed with periods of intense reaction to a persistent malady. This situation has lasted for so long a time that its discomfort zone today may have evolved into something approaching tolerable, an acceptable price to pay for the advantages accruing even in such unenviable circumstances.

Political and economic nostrums, administered or suggested over the span of many decades have, by and large, proved ineffective; the contagion continues apace, its course and virulence little changed by whatever inadequate medication or placebos are made available.

My own case could hardly be described as life-threatening but, at this juncture, I would be quite prepared to undergo much more radical treatment if this would guarantee rapid restoration of the sciatic nerve or whatever else may be the problem.

Can the same be said of Israelis and Palestinians? Might they also be just as like-minded in their attitude towards pain relief from so constant a provider? If so, then a course of treatment that reaches far down within the human psyche must be considered, one capable of operating at every level and recess of so insidious and deep-seated an affliction.

Sometimes the mere prospect of elective surgery can root out much of what was previously held to be inoperable.