Liron Mor’s book queries what conflict means in the context of Palestine–Israel. Conflict has long been seen as singular and primary: as an “original sin” that necessitates the state and underwrites politics. This book problematizes this universal notion of conflict, revealing its colonial implications and proposing that conflicts are always politically constructed after the fact and are thus to be understood in their various specific forms.
The book explores sites of poetic and political strife in Palestine–Israel by combining a comparative study of Hebrew and Arabic literature with political and literary theory. Mor leverages an archive that ranges from the 1930s to the present, from prose and poetry to film and television, to challenge the conception of the Palestinian–Israeli context as a conflict, delineating the colonial history of this concept and showing its inadequacy to Palestine–Israel. Instead, Mor articulates locally specific modes of theorizing the antagonisms and mediations, colonial technologies, and anticolonial practices that make up the fabric of this site. The book thus offers five figurative conflictual concepts that are derived from the poetics of the works: conflict (judgment/ishtibāk), levaṭim (disorienting dilemmas), ikhtifāʾ (anti/colonial disappearance), ḥoḳ (mediating law), and inqisām (hostile severance). In so doing, Conflicts aims to generate a historically and geographically situated mode of theory-making, which defies the separation between the conceptual and the poetic.