Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1140, 21 - 27 March 2013
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1140, 21 - 27 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

A conspiracy against the land of Palestine

The 1948 Dalet Plan shows that ethnic cleansing was always part of Zionist intentions towards Palestine, writes Stuart Littlewood

Al-Ahram Weekly

I have to admit that I was only dimly aware of the Dalet Plan before reading a recent article by UK journalist Alan Hart entitled “The green light for Zionism’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine”. The Dalet Plan, or Plan D, was the Zionist blueprint for the violent takeover of the Palestinian homeland, some call it the “Palestinian Holocaust,” written 65 years ago and based on three earlier schemes drafted between 1945 and 1948.

It was drawn up by the Jewish underground militia Haganah at the behest of Israeli politician David Ben-Gurion, then the head of the Jewish Agency.

Plan D was a carefully thought-out, step-by-step plot choreographed in advance of the British Mandate government’s withdrawal from Palestine and the Zionists’ declaration of Israeli statehood. It correctly assumed that the British authorities would soon no longer be there, and, indeed, the British completed their departure by 15 May 1948.

The plan’s intention on the surface was to gain control of the areas of Palestine to be included in the Jewish state and to defend its borders. But it also aimed to do much more than that, including measures to control the areas of Jewish settlements and concentrations located outside Jewish borders and ensure “freedom of military and economic activity” by occupying and controlling important high-ground positions on a number of transport routes.

This would be achieved by amongst other things “applying economic pressure on the enemy by besieging some of his cities”, “encirclement of enemy cities”, and “blocking the main enemy transportation routes. Roads, bridges, main passes, important crossroads, paths, etc. must be blocked by means of acts of sabotage, explosions, series of barricades, mine fields, as well as by controlling the elevations near roads and taking up positions there.”

Jewish forces would occupy the police stations, described as “fortresses”, 50 of which had been built by the British throughout Palestine after the Arab unrest of 1936-39.

The plan discussed “operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force.”

These operations included the “destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centres which are difficult to control continuously,” and “mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Villages emptied in this way were then fortified. “Outside the borders of the state” seems a curious thing to say since nobody was saying then where Israel’s borders would be. If they met with no resistance, “garrison troops will enter the village and take up positions in it or in locations which enable complete tactical control,” the plan said.

“The officer in command of the unit will confiscate all weapons, wireless devices, and motor vehicles in the village. In addition, he will detain all politically suspect individuals… In every region, a [Jewish] person will be appointed to be responsible for arranging the political and administrative affairs of all [Arab] villages and population centres which are occupied within that region.”

Here are the chilling guidelines for besieging, occupying and controlling Arab population centres: “by isolating them from transportation arteries by laying mines, blowing up bridges, and a system of fixed ambushes; if necessary, by occupying high points which overlook transportation arteries leading to enemy cities, and the fortification of our units in these positions; by disrupting vital services, such as electricity, water, and fuel, or by using economic resources available to us, or by sabotage; by launching a naval operation against the cities that can receive supplies by sea, in order to destroy the vessels carrying the provisions, as well as by carrying out acts of sabotage against harbour facilities.”

It is one of the sickest documents in history and shows why so many people question Israel’s legitimacy. Jewish terror gangs committed a massacre at Deir Yassin to set the tone and “soften up” the Arabs for expulsion. More atrocities followed the declaration of Israeli statehood on 14 May 1948. 750,000 Palestinians were put to flight as Israel’s forces obliterated hundreds of Arab villages and towns. To this day they have been denied the right to return and received no compensation, and 34 massacres are said to have been committed in pursuit of the Jewish state’s racist and territorial ambitions.

The UN partition of Palestine in 1947 cannot stand close scrutiny. At that time, UN membership did not include African states, and most Arab and Asian states were still under colonial rule. The UN was pretty much a white colonialist club. The Palestinians themselves had no representation, and they weren’t even consulted about the 1947 plan.

The first vote on the partition plan failed to reach the two-thirds majority required. To ensure success in the second vote, a good deal of arm-twisting was applied to the smaller countries, but again it fell short. At the third attempt, France was persuaded to come on board after the US threatened to withdraw desperately needed post-war aid, and on 29 November the UN voted to partition Palestine into three parts: a Jewish state on 14,000 sq km with some 558,000 Jews and 405,000 Palestinian Arabs; and an Arab state on 11,500 sq km with about 804,000 Palestinian Arabs and 10,000 Jews. Jerusalem, including major religious sites, was to be internationally administered.

No sooner had Britain packed its bags than Israel declared statehood on 14 May 1948 and immediately began expanding its territorial control across all of Palestine to accommodate a new Jewish state that was expanding on all fronts. 15 May marks the dark day in 1948, remembered by Palestinians as the Nakba (the catastrophe), that was brought about by the military terror that forced them off their homeland.

Atrocities occurred at Deir Yassin, Lod and Ramle. The massacre at Deir Yassin was carried out by the two Zionist terror groups, the Irgun and the Stern Gang. On an April morning in 1948 (before the declaration of the Israeli state), 130 of the groups’ commandos carried out a dawn raid on this small Arab town with a population of 750 to the west of Jerusalem. The attack was initially beaten off, and only when a crack unit of the Haganah arrived with mortars were the Arab townsmen overwhelmed.

The Irgun and the Stern Gang, smarting from the humiliation of having to summon help, then embarked on a “clean-up” in which they systematically murdered and executed at least 100 residents, most of them women, children and old people. The Irgun afterwards exaggerated the number, quoting 254, to frighten the residents of other Arab towns and villages.

The Haganah played down their part in the raid and afterwards said that the massacre “disgraced the cause of Jewish fighters and dishonoured Jewish arms and the Jewish flag”.

Deir Yassin signalled the beginning of a deliberate programme by Israel to depopulate Arab towns and villages, also destroying churches and mosques, in order to make room for incoming Jews. In any language, it was an exercise in ethnic cleansing, the knock-on effects of which have created an estimated four million Palestinian refugees today.

In July 1948, Israeli soldiers seized Lydda, shot up the town and drove out the population. US journalist Donald Neff reported that as part of the ethnic cleansing the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children. 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque. The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat leaving a trail of bodies, men, women and children, along the way.

Of all the blood-baths committed at the time, this was the biggest. The Israeli war hero Moshe Dayan was responsible. Was he ever brought to book? Of course not. By 1949, the Zionists had seized nearly 80 per cent of Palestine, provoking the resistance that still goes on today.

Even if the UN partition was legitimate, which many people doubt, the Israeli state’s greedy ambitions immediately overran the generous borders given to the Zionists. Few, if any, of the Jews imported into Palestine can trace ancestral connections with the Jews driven out by the Roman occupation in antiquity.

As the British politician Lord Sydenham warned when he opposed the 1917 Balfour Declaration that gave British support to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, this was an alien population dumped on an Arab country. “What we have done,” he predicted, “by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the east, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.”

Israel’s numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its continual defiance of international law and the UN charter, together forfeit all its claims to legitimacy as far as Arabs and non-Arabs around the world are concerned, at least those that haven’t been bribed to say otherwise.

UN Resolution 194 called on Israel to let the Palestinians return to their land. It has been reiterated many times, but Israel still ignores it. The Israelis also stand accused of violating article 42 of the Geneva Convention by moving settlers into the Palestinian territories it occupies and of riding roughshod over international law with their occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

As Plan D shows, “expulsion and transfer” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) were always a key part of the Zionists’ scheme. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, no mainstream Zionist leader could conceive of future co-existence without a clear physical separation between the two peoples.

Ben-Gurion, who became Israel’s first prime minister, is reported to have said in 1937 that “new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” The following year he declared, “with compulsory transfer we have a vast area [for settlement]… I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.”

On another occasion he remarked, “if I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it is true, but 2,000 years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”

Ben-Gurion reminded his military commanders that the prime aim of Plan D was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. He was well aware of his own criminality.

It is high time that the Palestine Solidarity Movement made the Plan D/Plan Dalet better known and in particular brought it to the attention of those who act as stooges for the Israeli regime and turn a blind eye to its unbridled terrorism.


The writer’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read at

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