The Lemon Tree – Based on a True Story

This is a book review

The plan was to read a completely different book for the month of May. However, I had to scheme through this book for some work I am undertaking and found myself captivated. I tried to fast read it within three days, but the more I read, the more I found myself slowing down and reading full pages.

The Lemon Tree is a wonderful book about a true Palestinian Israeli conflict. Different than the book I read in April, this book zooms into one significant story that took place in Palestine/Israel, and brings to us the sorrowful truth of the current situation.

The story has two main characters; obviously, one is Palestinian and the other is a Jewish Israeli who is originally from Bulgaria. The Palestinian man, is someone I myself have interviewed and therefore, I have pre knowledge of the story only from his side, whereas the book, is a complete research made from both sides. However, the story I know, is the same story written with differences in some details. I could not possibly say my version of the story is the exact one, for it is not so much different. Besides, memory, translation, and personal reflection, can always differ, from storytelling, to story-comprehending.

The author,  Sandy Tolan, includes in his book a flash back to pre 1948, when Bashir (the Palestinian man) was living in the house his own father has built, while Dalia (the Jewish woman)s parents decided to make Aliyah (immigration) to Palestine in response to Ben-Gurion repeated call in 1945, demanding at least three million Jews to make Aliyah within the next five years. Dalia’s parents, decided to make their move in 1948, when Dalia was only a year old, while Bashir, who was about five years old, was forcibly expelled along with his family from his home, his city, and his country.

The story, recites the transition, where Bashir went, and how Dalia moves to his empty house. It later encounters their first meeting, when Bashir went to visit his house for the first time in 1967, and since then, their conflicted relationship begins, bringing to us facts behind the conflict, that any two people from both sides will encounter, from misunderstandings, differences, and the possible will and want to finding peace and comprehension.

In this world, we all have similarities, but we can only find them when we open the door to one another. Dalia, opened the door to Bashir, and Bashir accepted the door open and entered. They both created a relationship, that reflects the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from a human based experience.

I believe The Lemon Tree book succeeded, to bring forth an adequate way to comprehend how the conflict is foreseen from both sides. The book might not articulate a 360 degree coverage of both situations, but it nonetheless, collects enough information to bring forth, the struggle and survival factors of individuals who decide to live the conflict. And I use the word ‘decide’, because it is a decision to make to live life with open eyes, rather than to shut them, and live without noticing the apparent struggle. Nonetheless, the Palestinians, whom in this conflict are the oppressed, might not always have the luxury of the choice to decide.

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Book Review: Struggle & Survival in Palestine/Israel

‘Struggle and Survival in Palestine/Israel’ book is an incredible read by all means, I actually can not wait to start reading it all over again and copy out the quotes that I found to be informatively mind changing.

For those of you who wish to lean about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and for those who know enough but wish to learn more ethnographic stories collected from pre Ottoman to the recent situation, this book is highly recommended. It is a collection of stories/essays about individuals who set an example of many who follow, be it Palestinian or Jewish, the authors are mostly scholars, anthropologists and specialized in the Israeli Palestinian conflict as well as Middle Eastern studies and they bring together a wide perspective juxtaposed to form a some kind of 360 historic view upon the situation. Israelis who were immigrants and how their immigration reflects upon them and how it slowly translates into their recent development into different ideologies and perception, sided with vis versa stories of Palestinians and their evacuation making them refugees or revolutionists or with shattered identities. This book is massive explosion of information, and what I love mostly about it is the diversity in its selection to collect stories that include the refugee, holocaust survivor, the zionist understanding in different perspectives from murder fanatics to just lovers of the land, the person behind Rabin’s assassination and the Leftist who bought a Palestinian home to the humanitarian who joins Palestinian protests and revolutionists, while stories of the Palestinians include, the modernists, the educated, the farmer, the refugee, the suicide bomber, and the activist. The book ends with the tragedy of the present day, the ongoing injustice and blind folded Zionists who continue to make this reality and long living tragedy.

On May 15 the world all together will remember the Nakba; marking 70 years this year for the 700,000 Palestinian made refugees who have become today around 7,000,000 stateless, homeless, with minimal to no human rights and we still continue to live recognizing the state of Israel who happen to be the reason behind this catastrophe.

This book, helps us understand a better picture of the conflict, a sided view of understandings, and a to understand the stories in this book is a step closer to a more free humanity.

From the book:

Page 93: ‘From then on, Yizhar seemed to have lost his naive faith in the wisdom and sound judgment of political leaders… Page 95: There seems to be no doubt as to his innocence, and the storyteller hopes his commander will let the man go, yet ‘security’ has the upper hand, and at the end of the day the shepherd is taken away. There is no big drama in the stories; they are but a glimpse into the reflections of a single soldier who sees things differently.

Page 117: ‘Canaan’s biographers underline his nationalism and the connection between his ethnography and his political involvement during the mandate, linking his interest in popular culture with a desire to defend Palestine against the political, demographic, and cultural challenge of Zionism.’

Page 145: ‘Abul Rahim became aware at a still young age of the danger the Zionist project in Palestine and the British Mandate’s commitment to support it. Jewish colonies were built on the coastal plains not far from his lands. He saw peasants evicted from sold lands becoming homeless and unskilled laborers in towns.’

Page 166: ‘In American Hillel discovered that nations were in fact political and civiv entities rather than organic cultural communities, as they were understood to be in Eastern Europe and Palestine; one could, for example, be both American and Jewish without the one identity threatening the other. For Hillel, distinguishing between Jewish as a religious adulation and Hebrew as national affiliation both reflected reality and provided solution to the problem of dual loyalty. The Jews in America were Jewish by religion and American by nationality. In Palestine, they were Jewish by religion and Hebrew by Nationality. The tragedy of European Jewry was that they were denied the liberty of choosing their nationality and were frequently not accepted into the body politics. The entire raison d’etre of Zionism became cleat to Hillel: to grant this freedom of choice to Jews.’

Page 193: ‘Walid told us what had happened to him. We knew that he had fled his village as a boy in 1948 amid the chaps and dear and found himself alone in Lebanon. He thought his family had preceded him there, but instead they had hidden in the mountains and returned to their village after the fighting stopped, becoming citizens of the Israeli state… Page 194: ‘In keeping with his greater life philosophy, his struggle for him as a Palestinian was about positive change, redemption, and humanity.’

Page 234: ‘My mother came running from the kitchen to find an Israeli army unit handcuffing her children and dragging them into the street. The event was customary. Soldiers often stormed into homes people’s homes and broke the arms and legs of men and boys so as to send a stern message to the rest of the neighborhood that they would receive the same fate if they continued with their intifada.’

Page 302: ‘Israeli advertisements for homes in Abu Tur and other formerly Palestinian neighborhoods of West Jerusalem henceforth employed this tern as a means to identifying the value of the property in question: “authentic Arab-style house in Baka… with original tiled floors and high ceilings”; “superb Arab house completely refinished in the heart of New Tzedek”; “Arab house for sale in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem… with lots of arches.”…Page 393 ‘I just want to make a Zionist statement before I go on, in terms of living in an Arabic house. This did not bother me in the slightest. I mean, if it had bothered me, I wouldn’t have made aliya. And because we had contact with the Kurdish family who lived here before us, I actually associate the house more with their period than with the previous Arab owners, none of whom I had any contact with. This isn’t to say that I am not interested in the history of this house, the question of why there was a cistern underneath the property, and so on. As an archeologist and ancient historian, I’n very interested. But politically speaking, it’s not a problem for me.’

*Aliya in the above context mean immigration to the State of Israel

Always Remember – Photo Series

“Between life and death the most important thing that can happen to a man and to a woman is love. And love has many manifestations: meditation is one of the manifestations of love.” Osho

Let us pray and meditate for love to come around again upon Palestine, For love is Freedom, and when Freedom was living between us in Palestine, life was different.

This is a photograph found online of Yafa Street in Haifa, Palestine before the 1948 Israeli occupation.

Haifa, 1948, palestine, israel

We Will Always Remember

A photograph of Nazareth, Palestine, before the Israeli Occupation

Maru’s Well – Photograph by Karima Abboud

Nazareth, Palestine, Israel

Tees I love 

This is a gorgeous one… A feather in the shape of the map of Palestine now available at JoBedu – Reesheh for 21.25$  

 

It is time to pause & reflect 

I see #Jerusalem “Let us give everything the time that it needs” there is nothing wrong about rushing things to happen, as there is nothing wrong in taking our sweet time. One situation is different from another. We can not have it one way, always. But we can learn to listen to life responding to us. Sometimes changes storms into our lives, and sometimes we need to take our time to change things. But I like the #quote by #MarkTwain that says “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause & reflect.” 
  

Our rights to return home.

“We will return” those keys are symbolic to the Palestinian Nation … They represent houses in Palestine that once were left & locked and when returned to, locks were changed & strangers were living in the homes of ours. Those keys are symbolic to our hearts and souls, they represent the evasion of our homes, identity & land, those keys represent our rights of return… Those keys are the original keys to homes that we only left because we were forced to, because our ancestors feared the lives of their children who today are our grandparents who gave birth to our parents & to us with a lost identity. Those keys are our keys back in search of our identity .. The Palestinian identity the Palestinian culture… Thousands of homes that are stolen are still stolen today by the Israeli goverment… And we ‘the Palestinians’ are staying here, on earth, we are going nowhere and we will carry those keys around forever telling our stories over & over until our rights return. To a Free Palestine, a Free World💚