This book left me feeling deeply disappointed in the way humans often treat each other. I grew up aware that there was conflict around Israel, but I never knew enough details to feel much of anything about it; The Lemon Tree certainly changed that. Tolan’s account makes it clear that the history written by the winners tends to be painfully inaccurate and should be thoroughly scrutinized.

I don’t want this to be a political commentary, and this is the only history of Israel and Palestine that I’ve ever read, so I will say just two things. First, based on Tolan’s account, it seems clear to me that Palestinians have been wronged for decades while the rest of the world watches, often taking Israel’s side. Second, I don’t understand how Israel doesn’t see its own hypocrisy – to achieve their own dream of returning to their ancestral homeland, they violently displaced millions of Palestinians from their own homeland.

While reading The Lemon Tree, I couldn’t help but think of the Native Americans who were similarly displaced from their own homelands during the formation of the United States. Unfortunately, similar events are all too common in history. Although both of these situations seem to be beyond fixing, I hope that humans can eventually learn to be less selfish and more aware of the consequences of their actions on others.