The Consultancy

The Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has described both the genesis of Plan Dalet - the military plan designed to dispossess the Palestinians of much of their land and property - and the people involved in its development. The campaign evolved in a committee headed by David Ben-Gurion that Pappe calls "The Consultancy." They were a mixture of high ranking military officers, field officers, experts on the Arab world, and intelligence officers.1

The Consultancy was unofficial, and according to Pappe this was the reason for its existence. There were no official records of its meetings, and so possibilities could be aired that couldn't be mentioned in the open. Pappe's evidence for the existence of the Consultancy comes from Ben-Gurion's diary, autobiographies of its members, and records kept by Israel Galili, who was present at all the meetings. The meetings of the Consultancy took place in Ben-Gurion's home, and in a Tel-Aviv building that housed the Hagana headquarters, known as The Red House. It was to this select group that Ben-Gurion made clear that the boundaries for the new Jewish state, defined by the United Nations in the plan for partitioning Palestine, would be disregarded.2

On December 10, 1947, the Consultancy first decided on a program of systematic intimidation of Palestinian Arabs. The intimidation at first took the form of distributing leaflets in Arab villages, often followed by random shooting at villagers in case of resistance.3 On December 18, it took a new turn in the village of al-Khisas - الخصاص . There Jewish troops blew up houses while the people inside were sleeping. It was after this operation that, according to Pappe, the Consultancy first discussed the eradication of entire Arab villages, and their repopulation by Jewish settlers.4

On December 31, 1947, in a meeting Pappe calls "The Long Seminar", there was agreement that the time had come for transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to other countries. Ben-Gurion said that there was no need anymore to distinguish between the innocent and guilty, and spelled out what he wanted to happen: every attack should end with destruction, expulsion, and occupation.5

In March of 1948, Plan Dalet , the military plan for expelling the Palestinian Arabs from about eighty percent of Palestine, which had been authored by the Consultancy, was sent to the field in the form of military orders.6

1 Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine , (Oxford: OneWorld, Paperback, 2010), 5-6
2 Pappe, 37
3 Pappe, 55-56
4 Pappe, 57
5 Pappe, 62-64
6 Pappe, 80-82