SOURCE: Benny Morris in a letter to the Irish Times (5-1-08)
Most of Palestine's 700,000"refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders).
There was no Zionist"plan" or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of"ethnic cleansing". Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948, was the master plan of the Haganah - the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces - to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. And the invasion of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq duly occurred, on May 15.
It is true that Plan D gave the regional commanders carte blanche to occupy and garrison or expel and destroy the Arab villages along and behind the front lines and the anticipated Arab armies' invasion routes. And it is also true that midway in the 1948 war the Israeli leaders decided to bar the return of the"refugees" (those"refugees" who had just assaulted the Jewish community), viewing them as a potential fifth column and threat to the Jewish state's existence. I for one cannot fault their fears or logic.