If you have driven to Jerusalem, you may have noticed a number of rusted metal hulks by the road as you pass through the Judean hills. These are the remains of homemade armored supply trucks, left where they were destroyed, to serve as memorials to the convoys that forced their way through Arab blockades to feed the 100,000 Jews of Jerusalem during the siege of 1947-48.
In an early scene in “Miral,” the new film by artist-filmmaker Julian Schnabel opening March 25, a Palestinian activist named Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass) comes across a ragtag group of about 50 children in Jerusalem’s Old City, many of them crying, trembling, dirty, barefoot, their hair matted and faces traumatized. The oldest is a girl of around 12, who explains that, the night before, the children had barely escaped a fiery rampage that destroyed their homes. They are alone, hungry and terrified.