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When faced with a crossroads between uncertain danger and putting their ego aside, my family chose right. Why can’t Palestinian leadership do the same?

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An orange stand in Israel| Photo: Unsplash

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My Uncle Jack and my cousin Charles took a self-guided driving tour through the West Bank in the early nineties, shortly after the first Intifada ended. Indeed, a semi-crazy thing to do, but that was when things were relatively safer.

Half-way through, they discovered they were badly lost, in the middle of vast desert. The few signs around were in Arabic and there was not a soul to be seen.

Just long stretches of road, the sight of a stray donkey in the distance, and the sounds of the wind scraping across the windshield.

Neither Jack nor Charles could trace their whereabouts on their map. It was scary enough being lost. Doubly scary, they believed, being foreign tourists who stood out. Worse, all that had to happen was an empty tank of gas, and they could have been stranded for God-knows how long.

They decided rather than pull over on the side of the road and hope for help, it was best to continue driving, with the idea that eventually, they’d stumble upon some town, village, or a person to assist them.

As luck would have it, they spotted a Palestinian orange vendor on the side of the road – in the middle of nowhere.

They asked if he could offer directions back to Jerusalem. Delighted to help, he pulled out a pen and, on the back of an invoice sheet, jotted down everything they needed to know, including landmarks to watch out for. Joy and relief overcame Jack and Charles.

But before the Palestinian handed over this life-saving piece of paper, he had one request: would they please buy a bag of oranges.

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“Hell yeah! Yes, of course! Happy to!” said Jack, understanding this was an obligatory gesture in kind. “Fantastic,” said the orange vendor.

“Twenty dollars. American.”

One can only imagine the looks on their faces.

“This bag,” said Jack, “would cost us two dollars at home, and would have to fly six thousand miles to get to us. You picked these here!”

Nodding, the orange vendor said, “I know. But do you want the map, or not?”

Jack and Charles resigned themselves to the notion that they could either accept help at a cost, or stay lost. And staying lost could mean a worse situation – out of gas, dehydrated, robbed…

With a deep sigh, they handed over the $20 U.S. bill and safely made their way back to Jerusalem.

A Palestinian sells oranges in a market.

Two weeks from now will mark the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of what was commonly referred to as the “second intifada” – the wave of extremist Palestinian terror that continued to strike innocent Israelis for many years afterward. And this anecdote about oranges is a perfect metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — as seen through the eyes of the Palestinians.

The Israelis have asked for something admittedly difficult; that is, to follow the Road Map to peace. It’s the symbolic bag of “impossibly costly” oranges: Israelis have asked to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, an end to cradle-to-grave antisemitic preaching, an end for claims for Palestinian refugees to flood Israel, and an end to hostilities. In return, et voila, land.

Sometimes, a peaceful compromise is uncomfortable and humbling. Maybe even painful.

But what is infinitely more painful is vengeance and violence; neither of which has worked in Palestinians’ favour. Such behaviour inevitably results in the hardening of the hearts of the very people who were supposed to be the partners for peace.

Regardless of whomever is “right”, the fact remains: Israel would give all kinds of land away if they had every reason to believe there would be peace (or for that matter, not war).

The Jerusalem skyline in all its splendour | Photo: Pixabay

The formula isn’t going to change, even after Palestinians try to modify it. Indeed they’ve used legal threats, United Nations resolutions, a propaganda media war, two intifadas, and a boycott campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel, with the express goal of forcing Israel’s hand.

This has only resulted in an outraged Israel.

Admittedly, no one deludes themselves in thinking any of this is easy, especially when so many have been mired in grievances for generations. No one imagines this can turn around overnight for those who have been marinating in hate, taught to believe the enemy lives next door, and nursing victimhood. And no one thinks negotiating with recalcitrant Palestinian leadership, is anywhere near productive, at least currently.

Yet still, the Israelis keep making offers, in the hopes that someone’s going to grab that olive branch.

Palestinians might not get everything they want out of the Trump deal, but outright refusing it – the way they have refused six other generous offers in the past twenty years – only signals to Israelis that this isn’t really about land. It’s about an ongoing conflict that Palestinian leadership feel they need to perpetuate.

In the final analysis, it has always remained a simple idea: either buy the costly oranges and get home, or walk away and stay in the same miserable situation.

Dave Gordon is the managing editor of TheJ.ca. His work has appeared in more than a hundred media around the world, including all of the Toronto dailies, BBC, Washington Times, and UK Guardian.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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