The Juice of Lemon Tree Movie: Complicated but Refresh


“Lemon trees they don’t make a sound. ‘Til the branches bend and fruit falls to the ground. Baby, sweet baby.” – Ruthie Foster

If you are care with Palestine and Israel conflict then you’d better watch this movie entitled “Lemon Tree”. Generally, this movie tells about the effort of Salma Zidane, a Palestinian widow that live in West Bank’s area that occupied by Israel, to save her lemon tree in the familiy garden. Her new neighbor suddenly sent an order to cut all her grove. It’s quite strange but true (in that movie) that her neighbor is actually the Israel Defense Minister. The argument from Navon, the Defense Minister, to execute that is because the grove potentially threaten him and his family because the grove can be used by terrorist or rebellion to hide theirselves. Salma hardly acceded that because that gorve is the only thing she has and it’s inherited from his late father also there’s nothing happend for 40 years that actually can threaten someone’s life. Then she came to Ziad, Palestinian lawyer, that help her to fight legally in court and at last supreme court also through Israel government.

It’s interesting that the movie dominated by the role of female character, Salma – the brave but lonesome fighter, Mira – the confused but humanistic wife of the Defense Minister, and Gera – the smart and mysterious journalist. Salma with her heart strongly fought for her grove and suddenly trapped in love with her attorney. Mira got dilemma, she tried to be a good wife that follow his husband but her humanity side pushed her to do something with the problem. Gera, also the long friend of Mira, did her investigation and publish the information widely so the international world gave attention to this “Lemon War”. Knowing the significant roles of woman here, we should ask ourselves in connection with the opinion that woman is actuallty the agent of peace and nonviolence. Why? Because woman is the one that feels the pain of “being a mother” and do something violent is useless, loving and caring are their nature. So, is that the main point of this movie? Whoa, we still have a lot to discuss. 🙂

I also want to point that this movie tried to show us what actually happend in Palestina-Israel area. Some people may say that the conflict bassically come from religious factor. But let’s be more critical, it’s about the fight over land. Salma, the victim of violation of land and property right, versus the Israel Defense Minister that want to just cut down someone’s belongings. The fight between the majority and minority, just like Palestina-Israel case. The sense of religion maybe strong but the main problem is the area ownership that being interfered again and again. That’s interesting also that we have to know that this movie directed by an Israeli and that’s why we shouldn’t judge something easily. Not all Israeli has same perspective towards this conflict and it isn’t wise to generally marked all Israeli as the evil. Me myself is not in an effort to justify a side, but I propose you to think wisely and rationally.

The role of media is another interesting point from this movie. Mass media as the branch of democracy here become the tool to raise this problem widely. For Salma, the report can gather sympathy also evidence that streghten her in the court. The support even the international support from another country came after the reporting. And for journalist, it’s important to maintain good relation with the source of news and also do reporting that cover both side. The freedom of media also became the indicator of democracy in Israel. Talk about democracy, from this movie we know that Israel also use the court system that allow their citizen to advocate their right. even we didn’t know for sure what kind of democracy they actually did but at least we know that they try to implement democracy.

The ending of the movie is a lose-lose solution, when each side got lose and none be the winner. Salma got half of her grove cut down and her lover gone. In the other side, the Defense Minister “being jailed” by his own wall. The wall is not just secure someone but also limited its interaction to the other. He finally became terrorized by himself and lose his harmony.  Now, security is not just about being saved from something physical but also mentally secure.

And I propose you to watch the movie, it will give you a lot. About lemon tree itself, I’m still questioning myself what it actually means. I’m also surprised when there’s also a book entitled “The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East” by Sandy Tolan. What is behind a lemon tree actually? But for me it’s kind of symbol that life can’t be sour but when we have effort to add something sweet, it can be refresh our mind, just like a lemon juice. Manage it tenderly so we can get great harmony. 🙂

Here’s the link of the movie:

Ayu Mellisa

International Relations of Paramadina University

Forum Muda Paramadina


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