Plan Dalet - The Plan

The Plan

In 1947 David Ben-Gurion reorganised Haganah and made conscription obligatory. Every Jewish man and woman in the country had to receive military training. Military equipment was procured from stockpiles from the Second World War and from Czechoslovakia and was brought in Operation Balak. There is some disagreement among historians about the precise authors of Plan Dalet. According to some, it was the result of the analysis of Yigael Yadin, at that time the temporary head of the Haganah, after Ben-Gurion invested him with the responsibility to come up with a plan in preparation for the announced intervention of the Arab states. According to Ilan Pappé the plan was conceived by the "consultancy", a group of about a dozen military and security figures and specialists on Arab affairs, under the guidance of Ben-Gurion. It was finalised and sent to Haganah units in early March 1948. The plan consisted of a general part and operational orders for the brigades, which specified which villages should be targeted and other specific missions. The general section of the plan was also sent to the Yishuv's political leaders. Plan Dalet was implemented from the start of April onward. This marked the beginning of the second stage of the war in which, according to Benny Morris, the Haganah passed from the defensive to the offensive.

In this plan the Haganah also started the transformation from an underground organization into a regular army. The reorganization included the formation of brigades and front commands. The stated goals included in addition to the reorganization, gaining control of the areas of the planned Jewish state as well as areas of Jewish settlements outside its borders. The control would be attained by fortifying strongholds in the surrounding areas and roads, conquering Arab villages close to Jewish settlements and occupying British bases and police stations (from which the British were withdrawing).

The introduction of the plan states:

a) The objective of this plan is to gain control of the areas of the Hebrew state and defend its borders. It also aims at gaining control of the areas of Jewish settlements and concentrations which are located outside the borders (of the Hebrew state) against regular, semi-regular, and small forces operating from bases outside or inside the state.

Later on the plan states:

f) Generally, the aim of this plan is not an operation of occupation outside the borders of the Hebrew state. However, concerning enemy bases lying directly close to the borders which may be used as springboards for infiltration into the territory of the state, these must be temporarily occupied and searched for hostiles according to the above guidelines, and they must then be incorporated into our defensive system until operations cease.

Section 3, entitled Consolidation of Defense Systems and Fortifications calls for the occupation of police stations, the control of government installations, and the protection of secondary transportation arteries. Part 4 under this heading includes the following controversial paragraphs:

Mounting operations against enemy population centers located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force. These operations can be divided into the following categories:
Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.
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.
The villages which are emptied in the manner described above must be included in the fixed defensive system and must be fortified as necessary.
In the absence of resistance, garrison troops will enter the village and take up positions in it or in locations which enable complete tactical control. 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. After consultation with the political authorities, bodies will be appointed consisting of people from the village to administer the internal affairs of the village. In every region, a person will be appointed to be responsible for arranging the political and administrative affairs of all villages and population centers which are occupied within that region.

According to David Tal,

The strategy called for the fortification and stabilization of a continuous Jewish-controlled line within the areas of the designated Jewish State and along its putative borders, and for the harassment of, and interference with, the Arab forces as they moved in. The success of this strategy depended on three elements: {'}cleansing{'} the area along the Jewish States's borders of an Arab presence; fortifying the Jewish settlements along the line of advance of the Arab column; and {'}hit-and-run{'} raids against the Arab troops as they advanced.

Read more about this topic:  Plan Dalet

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