Salma Zidane (Umm Nasser) was a Palestinian widow living alone in a house surrounded by lemon trees. She inherited it from her father on the Green Line that separates Israel and the occupied West Bank.
But she faced the removal of her loving trees which she cared for over many decades. This happened when the Israeli defense minister moved in next door and the lemon tree was deemed to be a security threat.
She resorted to a young lawyer to raise the issue to the military court to halt this aggression. She said that lemon didn't represent a threat to anyone nor violate any law. Salma confirmed that "the trees like human beings. It needs care and sense". Also she said "the best land in the world is my country".
On the other side of the border was the minister's wife, Mira Navon. She was not happy and she felt lonely. She sympathized with the Palestinian widow. The lives of two women were similar. The Difference was in the seeming extravagance in the home minister and poverty in the House of the Palestinian.
The minister's wife escaped from strict control to go to Umm Nasser. But Israeli goalkeeper prevented her to enter the Palestinian house. But the border does not prevent a silent relationship between the two women. What the minister's wife did, didn't affect the behavior of the minister.
The widow of Palestinian had a high self-esteem. She adhered to her land, while saying "Trees are real and life is real. You build a wall around me ... My life became hell". She converted her words to a positive action when she climbed the wall and irrigated the drought trees due to the negligence of aggressors to it.
Umm Nasser believed that the Israeli court will be fair as she had the right to keep her trees. The lawyer assisted her in a long journey from the military court to the Supreme Court of Justice. He supported her emotionally. In the end he abandoned her. She was surprised in a newspaper by his wedding to his colleague in the Palestinian minister in Russia.
Umm Nasser lost her case and the man. She did not care about that but she insisted on her case. At the end of the movie, she said to an old Palestinian man "Do not be afraid at me, I am still strong"
This was the story of the lemon trees movie that was presented in Asian Festival in India to the Israeli director "Eran Riklis". The Lemon Tree won the award for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In my view, The Lemon Trees illustrates the sensitive conflict between the Palestinian culture and the Israeli culture. The Lemon Trees merely represents daily life as it really is in Palestine where innocent Arabs are caught up in a Web of conflict. The only free democracy in the Middle-East where Israeli afforded to Arabs is just a day in court. The smile between the two women brings hope to the movie and to the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis seeking a true and lasting peace.
By Nouran Radwan