By Rayan El Zein, LSA Junior at the University of Michigan
Tall frontal arches fronted its pedestrian passers. Paralleled windows scattered its outer brick walls. Edged balconies limb-ed out of its core. Yes. It was a sight for sore eyes. Near the sea, on Yarkon Street, there stood a hefty Palestinian Tel-Aviv building known as the “RED” house.
During sunset, among Tel-Aviv locals, the house was known to acquire a reddish pink tinge, hence the name. In the 1920s, the RED house served as a head office for local Jewish builders and craftsmen. It was definitely not your typical maze of office cubicles. It’s productive purpose didn’t last for much longer however. As the end of the year 1947 came along, the pinkish reddish tinge slow but gradually transformed into a cold-blooded terracotta.
On March 10, 1948, the RED house was suddenly out of service. On that cold Wednesday afternoon, eleven members of the Zionist underground militia, Hagana, called in an emergency meeting. Some were veteran Zionist leaders while others were militia Jewish soldiers, however, all were noble ethnic cleansers. With much deliberation, together the Hagan members gracefully scribed a document titled Plan Dalet, also referred to as Plan D. Basically, this document could not have stood ground among such eleven minds without this complex, obscure, and elaborate purpose; the Palestinians had to go. The objectives were simple and straight to the point: implement a large-scale intimidation scheme, bombard and lay siege to villages, set anything that looks like a house on fire, plant mines wherever it’s possible for a Palestinian to exist, and last but not least, expel all Palestinians. And they meant it. No Palestinian Left Behind. None.
It took merely six months to complete Plan D, the plan I refer to as Plan D.E.E., Demolish-Expel-Eradicate. As the final seconds were counting down, the Box Score numbers seemed almost imaginary: eleven urban neighborhoods completely destroyed, 531 villages down to rubble, and 800,000 Palestinians were now refugees. You can say the eleven-man team truly had Hall-of-Fame prosper.
Hall-of-Shame that is. See, preceding the meeting, the eleven men all had to abide to an agreement which basically stated: what happens in the Red House stays in the Red House. Try visiting the Red House in Tel-Aviv today. You might get lost a couple of times. Well, it’s not there anymore. Unfortunately, Plan D was created at the Red House but also resulted in its own destruction as well. The victimized building is now engulfed into the sprawling extravagant metropolis of Tel-Aviv today. This tale was supposed to be concealed and distorted by the Plan D authors for a very long time. The headlines were, for so long, propagated to say that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians decided temporarily to leave their homes and villages so as to make way for the invading Arab armies bent on destroying the fledgling Jewish state. Sadly enough, this insanely false assertion is still believed to be true by many today.
But I say to you what happened in the RED House doesn’t have to stay in the RED House. The real narrative must be told and orated carefully. There is definitely a moral imperative to continue the struggle against this denial of a crime, to continue the struggle against the RED and bloody occupation of Palestine, and therefore, to continue the struggle to uproot the RED house into a historic reality.
Pappé, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006. Print.