Israeli filmmakers have shown themselves adept at fashioning parables that embody their revulsion at their country’s treatment of Palestinians. The latest example, Eran Riklis’ “Lemon Tree,” may not be the most impressive of the lot, but it’s still effective, in the manner of his earlier fable on the same subject, “The Syrian Bride.”

Hiam Abbass plays Salma Zidane, a still-beautiful widow who scrupulously tends the family lemon grove her father planted at their homestead on the West Bank border. Its existence is threatened, however, when new Israeli defense minister Israel Navon (Doron Tavory) builds a mansion for himself and his wife Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael) next door and the grove is deemed a danger by his security detail—a place from which terrorists could launch an attack on the official’s house. Faced with an order that the trees be removed, Salma decides to challenge the decision in court, enlisting Palestinian lawyer Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman) to represent her despite the long odds. In time, of course, the dispute becomes an international cause celebre.

As well, of course, as a cinematic metaphor for the wall that Israel is building to separate itself from the Palestinian territories. Fortunately, Riklis doesn’t hammer home that comparison as heavily as he might have, and though Tavory comes on a bit too strong as the minister, Abbass plays her part with wonderful restraint and precision. (In her hands Salma comes across as a cousin to Qui Ju, the determined wife searching for justice played by Gong Li in Zhang Yimou’s 1992 film.) And Lipaz-Michael is also excellent as Navon’s troubled wife, who finds herself questioning her husband’s hard-line position. There’s also an amusing subplot involving an Israeli soldier stationed to a guard tower on the minister’s property—a less-than-average warrior who’s continuously listening to tapes intended to prepare him for an army exam that recite a succession of increasingly ludicrous multiple-choice questions.

Less successful is the narrative thread positing a potential relationship between Salma and her lawyer. While the general Palestinian background is expertly sketched—the local men’s insistence that Salma couldn’t accept the compensation offered by the Israelis and their discomfort at her pursuing the case in the enemy’s courts are portrayed with both authenticity and poignancy for the woman’s plight—the romantic element has an almost soap-operatic tone, and pushes things too far into the realm of melodrama.

But that’s a minor flaw in a story of justice deferred that comes down clearly on the Palestinian side, but does so without simply caricaturing the Israelis. Like “Bride,” this well-made film (photographed with taste and expertise by cinematographer Rainer Klausmann) is a tale that has a distinct point of view on the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, but expresses it with considerable finesse as well as emotional power.