Israel in Palestine – the open veins of ethnic cleansing

Image: Elyeser Szturm


Israel's attacks against the Palestinian people appear to be retaliation against Hamas' attacks, however we realize that these attacks are the historical fulfillment of the Dalet Plan initiated a long time ago.

Israel's recent attacks against the Palestinian people can only be understood with a little history. We cannot understand Israel's current motivation without understanding its foundation, its basis and its own operating structure. This article reserves the right not to make a hasty analysis of the present, but to report what scientifically committed historiography has long ago found.

We don't need to say much, just state the obvious: let's make, at this first moment, a general overview of the creation of the State of Israel, go through the Zionist undertakings and tremble before the evil face of the “Plan Dalet”, the cornerstone of the creation of Israel as we know today. We will thus reveal the ethnic cleansing that founded Israel and continues to guarantee its reproduction. For us, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine has its veins open.

The three currents of Zionism

During their diaspora, the Jewish people lived dispersed around the world, always carrying the sign of “foreigner” in States “of” other numerically superior nationalities and ethnicities.[I] In this context, the idea of ​​a Jewish State in Palestine grew considerably.

Norman Finkelstein[ii] states that there were three distinct currents in the Zionist consensus: (i) political Zionism, which started from the failure of the democratic ideal and strong romantic nationalism, said that anti-Semitism would never be resolved, but that the construction of a State in which Jews were the majority would be able to resolve the Jewish question for the Jews who lived there; (ii) labor Zionism, which, linking itself to the “left”, stated that the Jewish question was not limited to a State, but that a Jewish working class needed to be created within it, thus demanding a majority of workers Jews; (iii) cultural Zionism, which believed that the problem was not with the Jews, but with Judaism, therefore, the absence of a State would cause Judaism to wither away, in this way, the Jewish State would be a spiritual center to unify the Jewish nation and the Jewish majority would be a condition of this cultural renaissance.

It is necessary to keep in mind that the main pillar of Zionism is the creation of a State with a Jewish majority in Palestine, thus, the immense Arab population that lived in the region should be transformed, in some way, into a minority that, perhaps, would be tolerated by the Jewish majority. In other words, the creation of the State of Israel under Zionism would be equivalent to the removal of the population that has already lived (for a long time) in Palestine.

There was, as we see, a consensus in relation to the Zionist colonizing enterprise, with rare opposition coming either from ultra-Orthodox Jews, who said that the promised land should only be returned with the coming of the messiah, or from groups of dissidents such as Brit-Shalom.[iii]

The Zionist justification

In any case, the question remains: how did the Zionists justify their colonizing enterprise in Palestine? Firstly, they started from two bourgeois nationalist conceptions of a state[iv]: (i) the idea that the political structure of a State did not belong to the inhabitants or citizens, but there was a nation (organic community) that was numerically superior in the territory; and (ii) the notion that the territory of a State does not belong to its inhabitants, but to the nation that is singularly linked to it through a historical-spiritual bond.

With this theoretical support, the Zionists stated that Palestine is the “historical” homeland of the Jews, therefore, the Arab majority that lived there would only be an accident of the second order, after all, that homeland always belonged to the Jewish people and the Arab population would have just a kind of land ownership. Norman Finkelstein[v] enumerates the “facts” that would justify the Jews’ right to Palestine: (1) The connection of the Jewish people with the land of Palestine was sui generis; (2) the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, although they effectively constituted a nation, did not form a separate nation, but rather formed part of a larger Arab nation, for which Palestine had no special resonance; ergo (3) the Jewish people had a 'historic' right to Palestine, whereas the local Arab population could at best claim simple 'residential' rights in the region.

Ben-Gurion, an exponent of Zionism, stated that Palestine was not the historical homeland of the Palestinian Arabs, since they would be part of the great Arab nation and their historical homelands would be Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula; Palestine, in turn, would be the historical homeland of the Jewish people.

This type of justification, on which the State of Israel is founded – from its beginnings until today – reinforces what we have already suggested: a Jewish State in Palestine along the lines of Zionism could only exist by questioning the entire Arab presence (non-Jewish in general) ), excluding her and expelling her from her own home. What Zionism wanted, to create Israel, would be a mass exodus of the entire local Arab population, creating an exclusively Jewish State.[vi]

The three premises for the viability of an exclusivist State

Once again, we use Norman Finkelstein's theoretical contribution to explain the premises of the Zionist enterprise, and then descend to the confines of reality and expose the harsh reality inflicted on the Palestinians.

There was a consensus among Zionists that “the Arab question in Palestine” would only be resolved with the expulsion of these people, enabling the creation of an exclusively Jewish State. However, for this colonizing enterprise to be viable, it was necessary to keep in mind some premises noted by Finkelstein.[vii]

(i) Zionism should not expect passivity and acceptance from local Arabs, after all, the Zionist movement would not tolerate negotiations, it wanted the total expulsion of this population or, at most, the remaining of a weakened minority. Furthermore, as the Zionists themselves did not consider the Palestinians to be in possession of that territory, they could not be considered capable of negotiating for lands that are not even theirs.

(ii) To create a viable State, it was necessary to have the support of one (or more) great world power to face the inevitable Arab resistance, that is, the Zionist enterprise (and the future State) would be protected by a force that would not depends on the local population. To do this, the Zionists knew that from the beginning they would have to submit to the imperialist interests of that power, which had initially been England. A Jewish State fulfilled several British imperialist interests, among which I highlight: it would serve as a “bridgehead”[viii] in a strategic region; and would divert the discontent of the local population to the Jewish State, sparing the power.

(iii) The conflict in Palestine would have to be resolved locally, subordinated to the interests of the great powers, that is, ultimately, the Zionist enterprise could only count on the support of the imperialist powers, however, its Arab neighbors could be convinced of the “benefits ” in supporting a Jewish State in the face of an immense Arab kingdom. Furthermore, the local Arabs would implement their demands in their authentic homeland, as we have seen, so it was a question of moving the Palestinians to other Arab countries without even consulting them.

The uprising

In 1918, when England occupied Palestine, Jews accounted for 5% of the total population.[ix] Initially, the Zionist colonizers tried to conquer Palestine by purchasing plots of land and entering the job market, guaranteeing their own survival and starting the colonizing enterprise.

With all Zionist demands already at stake, in 1917, England's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, made a promise to the Zionist movement: to establish a national home for Jews from all over the world in Palestine. In the statement he made on behalf of the British government, he cited the local Arab population by the name of “non-Jews”,[X] as if Palestine already belonged to the Jews and the Arabs who lived there for more than a millennium were something in the background, that is, there are Jews and “non-Jews”, but not exactly Palestinian Arabs.

The Balfour Declaration, as it became known, served to further fan the flames of the Zionist enterprise. England, clearly, was pro-Zionist for the reasons we discussed previously, with the Balfour Declaration being attached to the founding document of the British Mandate in Palestine.

In any case, the British Empire knew that it could not simply disregard the local population as if they did not exist, so until 1928 Palestine was considered a state under the influence of England and the English tried to impose a government structure, which I would call pseudodemocratic. The system operated on a basis of parity between Jews and Palestinians both in parliament and in the government, it turns out that the Palestinians were the majority (80 to 90%) and the parity system distorted the majority character of the government, with Jewish communities being super. -represented and underrepresented Palestinians.

The fact is that, when proposed in the early 1920s, the Palestinian leaders rejected it, due to its clear favor to Zionism, however, in 1928, cornered by the growing Jewish migration, they accepted the parity system, but the Zionists quickly rejected it, since did not yet make up the majority of the population.[xi]

Faced with the inaction of the British in the face of the Zionist enterprise and the failure to comply with even the parity agreement, the Palestinians carried out a first uprising against the British in 1929, which was quickly repressed. In 1936, a major uprising of armed Palestinians can be considered the first stage of organized resistance against Zionism. The Palestinians, driven by the assassination of an important leader on November 12, 1935, Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Quassam, revolted against the British Empire hoping to achieve their national independence and demonstrate their aversion to the establishment of a “national home Jew” in Palestine[xii].

Ghassan Kanafani says that the Slogans of Palestinian national leadership could be summarized in: (a) the immediate interruption of Jewish immigration; (b) prohibition of the transfer of ownership of Palestinian-Arab lands to Jewish settlers; (c) the establishment of a democratic government, in which Palestinian-Arabs would have the majority, in accordance with their numerical superiority.[xiii]

Faced with the death of an important leader, the Palestinians spontaneously revolted, starting strikes and acts of civil disobedience, which often ended with confrontations with British troops or Zionist Jews. The local Arab elites, faced with the popular uprising, realized that they had to support the movement or they would be swept away, thus Mufti Hajj Amin al-Hussaini began to openly support the movement.[xiv] However, the movement escaped the Arab leadership itself, and the peasants gave the revolt the form of an armed insurrection, called Jihad sacred of the field.[xv]

The English brutally crushed the revolt in a fight that lasted three years. British troops blew up houses, hunted down and killed all Palestinian leaders, many villagers were arrested, injured or killed and all Palestinian military units were scrapped.[xvi]

The military organization

From the beginning, the Zionists knew that the Palestinian Arabs would not give up their lands without a fight, so the Zionist enterprise needed to rely on a powerful military apparatus. The British officer Orde Charles Wingate was allocated to Palestine in 1936 to contain the revolt, however, from then on, as a fervent Christian who awaited the second return of Christ in Israel, he embraced the Zionist idea and began training the Jews and their militias in tactics. of combat.[xvii].

Charles Wingate was one of the main people responsible, with the approval of the British government, for considerably improving the main Zionist paramilitary group, the Haganah. The Arab revolt allowed members of the Haganah to train all military techniques against Palestinian peasants. The Haganah's actions at the time generally focused on intimidating Palestinian communities around Jewish settlements.[xviii]

However, to achieve the Zionist objective, the simple attack on the villages was not enough, it was necessary to plan in detail the ethnic cleansing that they would undertake against those people. Thus, the idea of ​​mapping and having a detailed record of all Palestinian villages arose: members of the Haganah were sent on reconnaissance missions and mapping using aerial photographs was carried out.[xx]

The fact is that at the end of the 1930s the records were almost complete, the Zionists collected them, according to Ilan Pappé[xx]: “Precise details about the topographic location of each village, its access roads, the quality of the land, water sources, main sources of income, its socio-political composition, religious affiliations, names of its mukhtars, relationship with other villages, age of each man (from 16 to 50) and much more. Furthermore, the Zionists created the “hostility index”, which was defined according to the degree of participation in the 1936 uprising, but most attention was paid to people who allegedly killed Jews during the uprising.”

“The files were constantly updated, with their last update being in 1947, on the eve of the execution of the Zionist plan. The 1947 addition was a wanted list in each village, which “justified” atrocities against the Palestinian people. Later, in 1948, Zionist troops used the lists to kill Palestinian men, executing them on the spot. Inclusion on the list was, in general terms, due to active involvement in the fight against Zionism, which was widespread among the local Arab population.”[xxx]

The military issue, as we said, has always been intrinsic to Zionism. David Ben-Gurion, leader of the Zionist movement from 1920 to 1960, always feared an armed response from Arab nations against the Zionist enterprise, even though he had security (bitachon in Hebrew) as the central question[xxiii]. To this day, as we can see in the current conflict, bitachon it is used as justification for extreme violence against the Palestinian population.

In February 1947, England, already worn out by the war, decided to leave Palestine and hand over its Mandate to the UN. Ben-Gurion, since 1946, had been working on a military plan to be implemented against the Palestinians as soon as the British left[xxiii], this plan was Plan C (or gimel in Hebrew).

Plan C was preceded by Plan A and B. Plan A was created in 1937 by the then commander of the Haganah, considering a possible English exit and the possibilities of implementing a Jewish State. Plan B followed the same principle, but it was redone in 1946. Plan C brought together the two previous plans and aimed to establish precise orders on how to act militarily against the Palestinian population, with strategies for offensive campaigns against the countryside and the city.[xxv]. The main objective of Plan C was to discourage an Arab attack on the Jews and to retaliate against any Arab insurrection.

However, a few months later, another plan was drawn up. A plan that was not intended to discourage and retaliate, but aimed at the total and systematic expulsion of Arab-Palestinians from Palestine. This was Plan D (or Plan Dalet) which had all the files and maps of the villages, with the list of human targets[xxiv]. The Dalet Plan was, as revealed by Ilan Pappé, a very well-designed military plan for ethnic cleansing.

The sharing and execution of the Dalet Plan

In 1947, when the UN began to discuss the issue of Palestine, Palestinians accounted for 2/3 of the total population and Jews for 1/3. UNSCOP (United Nations Special Committee for Palestine) openly sponsored the partition solution, that is, to resolve the issue it would be necessary to create two states: one Jewish and one “non-Jewish”. In fact, this happened and on November 29, 1947, the UN issued Resolution 181, dividing Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

Obviously, the UN Resolution completely ignored the ethnic composition of the country, since the Palestinian majority, a native population for millennia, has always rejected sharing their homeland. Furthermore, if the UN divided Palestine proportionally between Arabs and Jews, the Jews would have only 10% of the territory, however, Israel was born, according to the UN, with 56% of the territory.

The Partition Resolution gave the Jewish State most of the fertile land, which included more than 400 Palestinian villages[xxv], which would have to be moved, at best, if the Resolution was fulfilled. The Jewish State would have 56% of the territory with a population of 499 Jews and 438 Palestinians, while the Palestinian side would have 818 Palestinians and 10 Jews in 42% of the territory.[xxviii]

Resolution 181 was approved on November 29, 1947 and days later the Zionists began to disrespect it, beginning their project of ethnic cleansing. These first Zionist attacks, although punctual, were enough to expel almost 75 thousand Palestinians[xxviii]. The organized attack, the Dalet Plan, began to be carried out on March 10, 1948. The first target was the Palestinian urban centers, and by the end of April of the same year, they had all been taken over and 250 people had been expelled.[xxix]

Officially, the Dalet Plan determined the invasion of Arab villages, however, it would be up to the circumstances of the specific military operation to decide the fate of the village between the following options: surrender or destruction. However, as Ilan Pappé demonstrates[xxx], the practical result was the mass destruction of all Palestinian villages: the plan was converted, in practice, into a general order of destruction and massacres.

On April 9, 1948, the first Palestinian village, Qastal (the Castle), fell into the hands of the Zionists, who overcame the Palestinian resistance led by al-Hussayni and, from then on, remained with their plan of total and unrestricted domination of the territory. Palestinian.

Ethnic cleansing as an intrinsic structure of the State of Israel

As we have seen, the creation of a State formed exclusively by the Jewish people has always been the main goal of Zionism. There was never the intention – already absurd in itself – of sharing the territory of the Palestinians, the UN partition (never respected) was the means by which Zionism found its way to begin its fundamental character: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to the creation of an exclusively Jewish state. The Palestinian people would be tolerated, at best, as an unwanted minority.

Israel's current attacks against the Palestinian people appear to be retaliation against Hamas attacks, however, when we state the obvious - understanding a little of the history of Zionism and Israel itself - we realize that, essentially, attacks by Israel is the historical realization of the Dalet Plan initiated long ago. The Israeli government's order for the Palestinians to evacuate the Gaza Strip en masse is just the factual demonstration of what the Zionist lobby has kept hidden for many years.

Finally, it is important to remember that all conflicts, starting from 1948 to the current ones, are not an opportunity for ethnic cleansing to occur, on the contrary, ethnic cleansing is the cause that motivates conflicts. In other words: conflicts occur so that ethnic cleansing can continue, wars are the means for this cleansing to reach its ends.

*Lucas Oliveira Menditi do Amaral is a law student at the University of São Paulo (USP).


[I] FINKELSTEIN, Norman. Image and reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 2005, pp. 60-61.

[ii] Ibid., pp. 60-63.

[iii] Ibid., P. 65.

[iv] Ibid., P. 67.

[v] Ibid., P. 68.

[vi] Ibid., P. 70.

[vii] Ibid., pp. 72.

[viii] “Advanced position occupied by a military force in enemy territory, on the other side of a river or other natural obstacle, to ensure access, advance or disembarkation”. In: Priberam Dictionary of the Portuguese Language [online], 2008-2023.

[ix] PAPPÉ, Ilan. Palestine's ethnic cleansing. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2016, p. 31.

[X] Ibid., P. 33.

[xi] Ibid., P. 34.

[xii] Ghassan Kanafani. The 1936-1939 Arab Revolt in Palestine. São Paulo: Sundermann, sdp, p. 68.

[xiii] Ibid., P. 69.

[xiv] Ibid., P. 76.

[xv] Ibid., pp. 79-80.

[xvi] PAPPÉ, Ilan. Palestine's ethnic cleansing. São Paulo: Sundermann, 2016, p. 34.

[xvii] Ibid., pp.35-36.

[xviii] Ibid., P. 36.

[xx] Ibid., P. 38.

[xx] Ibid., P. 39.

[xxx] Ibid., pp. 41-42.

[xxiii] Ibid., P. 46.

[xxiii] Ibid., P. 47.

[xxv] Ibid., P. 48.

[xxiv] Ibid., P. 48.

[xxv] Ibid., P. 54.

[xxviii] Ibid., P. 54.

[xxviii] Ibid., P. 60.

[xxix] Ibid., P. 60.

[xxx] Ibid., P. 108.

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