The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been with us for quite some time now. It is one of numerous examples of its kind and the longest-running of all those that can be recalled within the span of living memory. Indeed, throughout the whole of human history, there have been few others that can match it in terms of staying power and intractability.

As to which side is in the right and which is not, no one can say for certain; the issues could be debated for a lifetime and still no answer would be forthcoming. What then is to be done if time and circumstance have created a riddle so complex that, in all of the past 65 years, not one success in unravelling it has ever risen to the surface?

Some are of the opinion that demographics will force a conclusion. Others may still be hoping for peace negotiations to set matters right. A smaller contingent might even be expecting divine intervention (and retribution) to arrive on site and render up a verdict there and then.

In retrospect, any such manner of resolution would seem somehow vaguely disappointing, a termination that gives no real clue as to the whys and wherefores of so long a contest, no reasoning behind its prosecution and the need in it for so much death and destruction.

Unless, that is, it’s a test of some sort, a means to determine whether its participants can figure out the code that finally releases them from its clutches. And those from that of others.

Can this code ever be cracked? Seven decades have seen no sign of this happening. But could it still be done and, if so, can some small measure of redemption then be gained, rescuing us all from what would otherwise be eternal contemplation of humanity’s abject failure in this matter?