Yigal Allon was one of the founders of the left-wing Mapam Party. At the time of Six-Day War, he served as Minister of Labor. After Israel’s victory, he, believed the nation’s security required maintaining control over a large part of the territories it captured with as few Palestinians as possible and proposed what came to be known as the Allon Plan (תוכנית אלון).
Meir Hare’oveni explained the five principles on which his ideas were based:
- The historical right to settle the land of Israel, with due regard for demographic factors in the area, as a moral basis for the plan.
- The demarcation frontiers as a strategic basis of the plan.
- The maintenance of the Jewish character of the state.
- Promoting a Social-Democratic character and basic structure for the state.
- The acceptability to the world of the state constituted on the basis of this plan.
“From the Israeli point of view, the plan’s main attraction is that it would provide for the security of the state without upsetting the demographic balance of the country,” Terence Smith wrote in the New York Times.
Allon first introduced his ideas when the cabinet met on June 18-19. He said then, “the last thing we must do is to return one inch of the West Bank [to Jordan]. We must not view [the Hashemite regime] as existing forever.” Instead, he proposed the creation of a Palestinian state “agreed on between us and them in an enclave surrounded by Israeli territory, independent even in its foreign policy.”
He presented a refined version of his plan on July 26 that envisioned a division of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan, the creation of a Druze state in the Golan Heights, and return most of the Sinai Peninsula to Arab control. Israel would annex most of the Jordan Valley from the river to the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge and develop a string of Jewish agricultural settlements to form a first line of defense against an invasion. Other settlements were to be established around Jerusalem and the Etzion bloc to establish facts on the ground to ensure the territory would remain in Israeli hands. The Gaza Strip would be annexed to Israel. The remaining parts of the West Bank, containing most of the Palestinian population, were to become Palestinian autonomous territory.
Despite his attitude toward Jordan, Allon adapted his plan by adding a corridor between the West Bank and Jordan through the Jericho area. The areas not annexed by Israel would be handed over to King Hussein. Gaza would also be part of a Jordanian-Palestinian state. The conditions included demilitarization of the West Bank, deployment of Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, and Israeli annexation of a roughly 6-10-mile-wide strip of land along the Jordan River, most of the Judean desert along the Dead Sea, and East Jerusalem.
The plan was never endorsed by the government; nevertheless, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol instructed Allon to show his proposed map to King Hussein in September 1968 in hopes of stabilizing Israel’s relation with Jordan. Hussein, however, found it “insulting.” Jordan had occupied the West Bank from the end of the 1948 War until his defeat in 1967 and Hussein believed it should be returned to Jordanian control.
The plan was also opposed from the outset by the Greater Israel Movement which insisted that Israel annex all the territory captured in the war.
The lack of support from Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Americans, the UN, and everyone else involved in discussions about the disputed territories did not stop future policymakers from exploring solutions based on the plan.
Sources: “Allon Plan,” Wikipedia.
“Allon Plan,” Encyclopedia.com.
“Greater Israel Movement Criticizes Allon Plan for Partitioning West Bank,” JTA, (June 19, 1968).
Meir Hare’oveni, Maariv, (December 26, 1971).
Julio Messer, “The Allon Plan: Then and now,” JNS, (July 1, 2020).
“Israel’s Allon Plan Is Unilaterally Presented,” CIE.
Map: Tallicfan20, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.