In the years leading up to the 1982 war between Lebanon and Israel, many Palestinian families lived in Beirut as refugees, where they hardly received a warm welcome from the Lebanese people. Segregated into makeshift camps, young Palestinian men and even younger boys experience the war only vicariously - until one day the war comes right to their doorstep, in the form of an Israeli fighter pilot, Yoni (Stephen Dorff), who is shot down right outside the camp.
Charged with guarding this valuable asset is a group of boys (and a spaniel named Churchill) led by Fahed (Abedallah El Akal), a gun-wielding twelve-year-old enraged by the death of his father in an Israeli air attack. The boy's only inheritance from his father is a small potted olive tree, snatched as they fled their ancestral lands, and the child dreams of returning to their village and replanting the tree. Meanwhile, Yoni knows that unless he escapes his days are numbered, so the two would-be enemies make a deal: Fahed will unlock the cell and lead Yoni out of the city if Yoni will get him over the border and back to his family's village.