Conflict Shorelines

Colonization As Climate Change In The Negev Desert

Eyal Weizman

The village of al-‘Araqib has been destroyed and rebuilt more than seventy times in the ongoing “battle over the Negev,” an Israeli state campaign to uproot the Palestinian Bedouins from the northern threshold of the desert. Unlike other frontiers fought over during the Israel-Palestine conflict, this one is not demarcated by fences and walls but by shifting climatic conditions. The threshold of the desert advances and recedes in response to colonization, cultivation, displacement, urbanization, and, most recently, climate change. In his response to Sheikh’s “Desert Bloom” series (part of Sheikh’s The Erasure Trilogy, published by Steidl), Eyal Weizman’s essay incorporates historical aerial photographs, contemporary remote sensing data, state plans, court testimonies, and nineteenth-century travelers’ accounts, exploring the Negev’s threshold as a “shoreline” along which climate change and political conflict are deeply and dangerously entangled.

Published by Steidl

June 2015, English
Hardback, 96 pages


The Conflict Shoreline makes brilliant use of aerial and other photographs to trace the settler-colonial origins of the practices that made climate into a political tool in the hands of Zionists seeking to displace Bedouin tribes from their original homes in the land of Israel. There is much to learn from this book about ‘climate change’ as a profoundly colonial project.” Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

In association with Cabinet Books, Brooklyn


Press Reviews



The Least of All Possible Evils

Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza

Eyal Weizman

This book deals with contemporary forms of state violence that are structured by a similar logic of calculations and managed by an assortment of mechanisms of moderation. Humanitarianism, human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) when integrated into state or military practice, combine to provide the frame and the formulas within which these calculations are currently undertaken. A precise number of dead civilians could thus be set as an upper threshold for “proportional” military bombing missions; the size of fields and tonnage of their produce could thus be calculated against security necessities to moderate the design of territorial infringements; the supply of electric current, industrial diesel, and foodstuff – calculated and calibrated at their minimum possible megawatts, litters and calories – could thus be used to govern a population by keeping it on the threshold of life. The condition of incessant calculations in the collusions of humanitarian, human rights and humanitarian law with the logic of state violence is what this book refers to as the humanitarian present.

Published by Verso Books

April 2012, English
Hardback, 208 pages


Publishers Notes:
Groundbreaking exploration of the philosophy underpinning Western humanitarian intervention. The principle of the “lesser evil” — the acceptability of pursuing one exceptional course of action in order to prevent a greater injustice — has long been a cornerstone of Western ethical philosophy. From its roots in classical ethics and Christian theology, to Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the work of the Jewish Councils during the Nazi regime, Weizman explores its development in three key transformations of the problem: the defining intervention of Médecins Sans Frontières in mid-1980s Ethiopia; the separation wall in Israel-Palestine; and international and human rights law in Bosnia, Gaza and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of new research, Weizman charts the latest manifestation of this age-old idea. In doing so he shows how military and political intervention acquired a new “humanitarian” acceptability and legality in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.




Mengele’s Skull

The Advent of Forensic Aesthetics

Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman

In 1985, the body of Josef Mengele, one of the last Nazi war criminals still at large, was unearthed in Brazil. The ensuing process of identifying the bones in question opened up what can now be seen as a third narrative in war crime investigations—not that of the document or the witness but rather the birth of aforensic approach to understanding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In the period coinciding with the discovery of Mengele’s skeleton, scientists began to appear in human rights cases as expert witnesses, called to interpret and speak on behalf of things—often bones and human remains. But the aesthetic, political, and ethical complications that emerge with the introduction of the thing in war crimes trials indicate that this innovation is not simply one in which the solid object provides a stable and fixed alternative to human uncertainties, ambiguities, and anxieties.

The complexities associated with testimony—that of the subject—are echoed in the presentation of the object. Human remains are the kind of things from which the trace of the subject cannot be fully removed. Their appearance and presentation in the courts of law and public opinion has in fact blurred something of the distinction between objects and subjects, evidence and testimony.

Published by Sternberg Press
Co-published with Portikus, Frankfurt am Main
Design by Zak Group

2012, English
Softcover, 88 pages



Forensic Architecture

Notes from Fields and Forums

Eyal Weizman

This notebook is a philosophical and cultural-critical examination of Israel’s policy of occupation. The architect Eyal Weizman uses the term “forensic,” derived from the Latin forensis, “forum,” to reconstruct the history of attacks on and violations of buildings. Drawing from the fields of judicial medicine and psychiatry, “Forensic Architecture” serves in revisiting damaged Palestinian houses and ruins. Weizman, who is a member of the collective Decolonizing Architecture,founded in 2007, describes Forensic Architecture as “the archaeology of the very recent past” and “a form of assembling for the future.” Forensic Aesthetics mirror relationships and logics of action, objective and subjective probabilities; what is needed is an interpreter who addresses the public in the name of a destroyed home.

Published by Hatje Cantz
Series dOCUMENTA (13): 100 Notizen – 100 Gedanken

2012, German, English
Softcover, 44 pages