Kino Eye: A film from Palestine

Submitted by martin on 14 September, 2021 - 8:22 Author: John Cunningham
Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree, directed by Eran Riklis (who is Israeli) was released in 2008. The Palestinian widow Salma Zidane (played by Hiam Abbass) has only her lemon grove to support her. One day a couple move in next door and her life is turned upside. The new neighbours are Israel Navan, the Israeli Defence Minister and his wife Mira.

The lemon grove, supposedly, poses a security hazard and must be cut down as a measure against any potential attacks on the Minister. Although there is a possibility of financial compensation Salma refuses it on principle. The trees are fenced off and Salma is not allowed access but the Israelis take lemons when they discover they have none for a feast they are planning.

Salma is determined to fight the destruction of her trees and she hires a young lawyer. Her case is rejected by the Military Court and she then appeals to the Supreme Court. Mira becomes sympathetic to the plight of her Palestinian neighbour and her husband’s hardline attitude contributes to breaking up what is an increasingly stressed relationship. Mira leaves him and the film ends showing a wall between the two properties and about half the trees cut down.

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