The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East

Palestinians, Israelis and others active in peace and human rights work sigh when political dilettantes come to the Holy Land convinced that they will start the dialogue group that will bring peace—as though no one had thought of promoting dialogue before. I thus approached Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree with some cynicism. The book chronicles the dialogue between Bashir Khairi, a Palestinian intellectual, and Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, whose family moved into the home from which Khairi’s family was driven by Jewish forces. If Tolan had been writing according to formula, Dalia and Bashir would have overcome their pasts, become great friends and worked together to end violence. Instead, The Lemon Tree is an unflinching assessment of how the events of 1947-1948 and afterward make such a relationship impossible.

 

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