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“It doesn’t make sense! There can’t be a winter war in the Middle East! If Benjamin Netanyahu plans a war against Palestine in September, it would certainly continue into the winter since it would follow the pattern of a guerrilla war. Thus, the article Bibi Goes to War cannot be right!”
I was expecting such a reaction to my last article. Yet, I just got a single hate-email after the first article of the series, September's War. Oddly, that was worrying. It is another sign the Israeli Administration had succeeded to dim its citizens’ to such an extent they lack even the basic tools to analyze and answer such an article according to their own worldview. By now, they can just curse and persecute whomever they perceive as a threat. Answering is no longer an option for these inarticulate members of nature.
They could have based such an answer – “there are no winter wars!” – on historic facts. No short wars have been fought during winter in the Middle East since the illegitimate foundation of the State of Israel. Long wars – like the First Lebanese War in 1982 – continued during the winter, but with a very low level of activity during the cold and rainy season. The reason for that is simple; rain creates awesome amounts of mud in the mountainous areas, rendering roads almost useless. Tanks cannot cross the Golan Heights during the winter; they’ll sink. The last is especially true since Israeli tanks weigh more than the allowed by the Geneva agreements. A Merkava 3 fully loaded is said to reach over 90 metric tons; international check teams are systematically fooled by the IDF during scheduled inspections.
They could say that; yet, one should never plan a war according to the events of the last one. The last – in the form of supposing an airborne hegemony by the IDF – has been Israel’s error ever since 1967. In Sea War I made a case for this, offering a possible scenario for a future naval conflict in the Middle East. A war could begin over the vast gas resources found in recent years nearby the Lebanese shores by American corporations and which is currently exploited by Israel. If a war was to begin between Israel and an Independent Palestine, it wouldn’t look like anything from the past. Not even like the first and second Intifada Wars.
Most of such a war – at least most of the face-to-face encounters between the sides – would take place in the West Bank. Roughly two thirds of it is mountainous. The steep slopes connecting the mountains with the Jordan Valley are especially complicated since large parts of it are covered with a thin dust that makes moving around a complex affair. Then, over the years towns and villages grew up and have almost connected into an uninterrupted urban area. All these lead to a struggle to be fought almost exclusively between infantry soldiers. House to house, building to building, school to school. One bullet at the time. Tanks and armored vehicles would have difficulties moving around, and thus would be relegated into a secondary role. Artillery would seldom be used to avoid disaster. Fighter planes would be useless. Helicopters would be tricky; nobody wants televised proofs of the crimes they would almost inevitably commit. Combined Shin Beth-IDF units – of the type described in The Cross of Bethlehem - would rule.
This would be a new type of war in the area. A super-guerrilla encompassing the whole terrain. There would be no front line. The front will expand everywhere, a line turned into terrain. Rammallah, Tel Aviv; Bethlehem, Haifa. The season would be of no consequence. Winter wars would be the new reality.
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