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Home > Documents & Reports > Misc.
FAQ on Plan Dalet

Click Here For Our Updated and More Comprehensive Fact Sheet on Plan Dalet.


refugees-nakba-truck-1948.jpg
A Palestinian family piles into a truck, becoming part of the Nakba in 1948. (UNWRA)
1. What is Plan Dalet?
2. Who devised Plan Dalet?
3. When was Plan Dalet implemented?
4. What resulted from Plan Dalet?
5. Why is Plan Dalet relevant today?

1. What is Plan Dalet?

On March 10, 1948, Zionist political and military leaders met at the "Red House" in Tel Aviv and agreed to Plan Dalet, which called for the systematic expulsion of Palestinians from areas sought for the soon-to-be-founded state of Israel. The plan led to what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba.

At that time, Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about 33 percent of the population. The Palestinians' presence and predominant ownership of the land were obstacles to the creation of a Jewish state. Moshe Sharett, Israel's second prime minister, said "We have forgotten that we have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but we have come to conquer a country from people inhabiting it."

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2. Who devised Plan Dalet?

Top leaders of the Haganah, the leading Zionist underground militia in Palestine at the time, formulated Plan Dalet. One of the key instigators was David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel's first prime minister. A long-time proponent of expelling the Palestinians, 10 years earlier he stated to the Jewish Agency Executive, "I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it."

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3. When was Plan Dalet implemented?

Israel has since claimed that it was attacked by surrounding Arab states immediately after its founding on May 14, 1948, and that refugees fled due to the ensuing conflict. In fact, Plan Dalet predated the entrance of the Arab states into war with Israel. Some 250,000 Palestinians were expelled in the two months between the March 10 adoption of Plan Dalet and the establishment of Israel in mid-May. The stream of refugees into the Arab states created pressure on them to intervene to stanch the flow. It is more accurate to say that the refugee flight caused Arab intervention than the other way around.

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4. What resulted from Plan Dalet?

Plan Dalet led to the depopulation of at least 450 Palestinian towns and villages, most of which were demolished to prevent the return of the refugees. By the end of 1948, approximately 750,000 Palestinians - three-quarters of the Palestinian population - were exiled. It is estimated that more than 50 percent fled under direct military assault. Others fled in panic as news of massacres spread - for example, more than 100 civilians killed in the village of Deir Yassin on April 9 and 200 in Tantura between May 22nd and 23rd.

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5. Why is Plan Dalet relevant today?

Israel will commemorate its 60th anniversary this May without acknowledging the ethnic cleansing and dispossession of Palestinians it perpetrated. At the same time, Palestinians will mark their dispossession and remind the world of their right to return to their homeland. An overwhelming majority of Palestinians believes that refugee rights must be remedied for peace between Palestinians and Israelis to endure.

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