The device was useless. The mortar-variant improvised by the Mikveh Israel agricultural school had been provided to the Palmach troops in Safed and Jerusalem; it became the ultimate proof that Jewish farmers couldn’t be trusted. The odd device fired shrapnel enclosed within a grenade-like warhead; it was dreadfully inaccurate to the extent that it endangered the troops using it.
After a few trials, the troops discovered an odd effect; despite its size the Davidka made as much noise as heavy artillery. The result was terrifying; Palestinian civilians living in the vicinity ran away, fearing that a substantial force was approaching their ancestral homes.
The Palestinian exodus had begun. Shortly afterwards, roughly a million Palestinians left the land of their forefathers and created the Palestinian Diaspora. The few left behind were labeled “Israeli-Arabs” by the State of Israel and became second-class citizens. Two decades later, the West Bank and Gaza were conquered, and their inhabitants got a status even lower than their blood brothers. The Jewish settlers living next to them were full citizens; they were just refugees living at the mercy of the IDF Civil Administration.
Sometimes, wars have more than one front. One side may be seen violently crushing its enemy on one front, while it silently loses a more decisive battle on a hidden front.
Until the mid-1980s, Israel systematically reported wrong statistics regarding the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza. At a certain stage, the lie was so obvious that the Israeli administration was forced to duplicate the numbers overnight. Years after the Palestinian Exodus, Israel is losing the Demographic War against the Palestinians.
By the end of 2012, only about 45% of the 1.2 million denizens of the Galilee are Jews. These are concentrated mainly in the areas surrounding the Sea of Galilee and along the Mediterranean coast. The highlands of the Western Galilee are populated mainly by Druze and Palestinians, though Bedouins and Circassians can also be found. Jerusalem is in a similar situation. On December 23, 2011, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that Israel “should relinquish Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier.” He is facing what he defines as demographic and security problems; his simplistic solution is pragmatic to the end. He wants to enclose the Palestinian neighborhoods behind a tall wall.
Overall the situation looks grim for Israel. By the end of 2012, Israel has roughly 8 million inhabitants, 6 million Jews and 2 million Palestinians. The West Bank has an opposite ratio, of its 2.5 million inhabitants, 2 million are Palestinians and the remnant are Jewish settlers. Gaza has almost 2 million Palestinians and no Jews. Yet, all Jewish-Zionist parties want a Jewish state. Likud and other parties even want to unify all the territories west of the Jordan under one Jewish sovereignty. All Jewish-Zionist parties preach democracy. The actual situation is of a highly dense territory populated by an almost equal number of Jews and Palestinians. Unifying it in a single, democratic country, leads to a binational country. Jews will have no preference there. In other words, either the Zionist parties are presenting contradictory policies or are hiding from the people evacuation plans for the Palestinian population. A new Palestinian exodus.
Recently, the Speaker of the Knesset said that in the year 2040, there will be fourteen million Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River living under one sovereignty, the Israeli one. This number doesn’t represent an organic growth of the current situation; it implies a dramatic change. He also claimed that the Israeli government should apply Israeli law in the West Bank without announcing this publicly; this meant an unofficial annexation of the West Bank.
The following chapter in the disclosure of the Israeli intentions was broadcast on December 2, when the Israel government defined the West Bank “Disputed Territory” not “Occupied Territory”. Israeli Vice Minister Moshe Ya’alon publicly acknowledged that this was an informal annexation of the West Bank in the aftermath of Palestine being accepted as an observer state by the UN. Under the circumstances, this is an informal declaration of war by Israel on Palestine.
The situation may soon deteriorate into a new battle in the war between Israelis and Palestinians. This slow war has been going on for about a century; until now it is a tie. Both populations are almost equal in size and unable to make a decisive strike that will put an end to the war. Yet, this is an unusual war due to the vastly different strategies adopted by each side. Israel operates a regular army while Palestine relies mainly on guerrilla operations.
The new battle will be different; as hinted by the Israeli officials commenting on the spectacular success of the Palestinian delegation at the UN, Israel wants its own version of the Final Solution. A Jewish state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In other words, an ethnic cleansing to be achieved by a Palestinian exodus. Palestinians in the West Bank will be pushed across the Jordan River. Palestinians in Gaza will be forced into the Sinai Desert. Can Palestinian guerrillas stop this scenario?
“Impossible! Israel has missiles, antimissiles, satellites, and American-made weapons. Palestinians have donkeys and sticks!” my few Zionist readers are thinking by now. Yet, wars are not won by technological tricks. Technology may award a battle, and a temporary victory, but in the long term the decisive issue is moral righteousness. The Vietnamese lived a thousand years under Chinese occupation until they freed themselves (and yet, the USA ignored this before attacking them, providing us with the ultimate example of the futility of its arrogance of power). Israel faces a task of impossible logistic characteristics. It will need to move masses of people through a limited amount of passes. After all, the Jordan River banks are mined. The same goes for Gaza’s borders. The mountainous terrain of the West Bank has a limited amount of roads. The desert surrounding Gaza imposes serious movement limitations. Can Israeli engineers match the inventiveness of German ones?
The Palestinians face an easier task. Guerrilla armies are perfect for creating temporary road blockades. Near Netanya, Israel’s bottleneck measures less than 10 miles; only two main highways cross it. A tiny team of snipers can easily stop an army there, similarly to what was done in the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), where approximately 7,000 Greeks stopped a massive Persian army claiming to comprise over a million people by blocking a narrow coastal path. The final part of this battle was featured in the movie “300.” Don’t underestimate this option. As Israel is trying to bisect the West Bank, it may find itself effectively cut in two. The IDF heavily depends on these two roads. Similar logic applies to the bridges over the Jordan River, and the passes surrounding Gaza. The latter are surrounded by tunnels, which enable operations like those led by the North Vietnamese in what they called “The American War.”
Who will win? The Western technology of imperialism or moral righteousness? God knows
Ro’i Tov is the author of “The Cross of Bethlehem.” His website is Words from a Christian Israeli Refugee.