The Allon Plan (Hebrew: תוכנית אלון) was a plan to partition the West Bank between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, create a Druze state in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and return most of the Sinai Peninsula to Arab control. The plan was drafted by Israeli Minister Yigal Allon shortly after the Six-Day War in June 1967.
The broad aim of the plan was to annex most of the Jordan Valley from the river to the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge, East Jerusalem, and the Etzion bloc, to Israel. The remaining parts of the West Bank, containing most of the Palestinian population, were to become Palestinian autonomous territory, or would return to Jordan, including a corridor to Jordan through Jericho. The Jordanian King Hussein rejected the plan.
Allon died in 1980, and the following year the Israeli government passed the Golan Heights Law, effectively annexing most of the governorate.
The Allon Plan was based on the doctrine that Israeli sovereignty over a large part of the Israeli-occupied territories was necessary for Israel's defense. On the other hand, Allon wanted Israel to return populated territories, and most of the Sinai Peninsula as well, to Arab control, in order to progress towards a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The plan was designed to include as few Arabs as possible in the areas claimed for Israel. Israeli leaders ruled out the possibility of incorporating the West Bank Palestinian population into a greater Israel because it would have dramatically changed the state's Jewish demographic orientation.
Yigal Allon presented the plan when he served as Minister of Labor under Mapai Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. According to the Allon Plan, Israel would annex most of the Jordan Valley, from the river to the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge, East Jerusalem, and the Etzion bloc. At the same time, the heavily populated areas of the West Bank hill country, together with a corridor that included Jericho, would be offered to Jordan.
Jordanian versus Palestinian option
After the Six-Day War, Israeli leaders considered two possibilities to end the occupation: either the "Jordanian option", holding the transfer of control for most of the territory of the West Bank to the Jordanian monarch, or alternatively the "Palestinian option", under which the Palestinians would get autonomy or an independent state.
The majority of the Government, including Yigal Allon, favored the Palestinian option. In June 1967, according to journalist Reuven Pedatzur, writing in 2007 in an article in Haaretz, Allon expressed caution over the Jordanian option and declared that "The last thing we must do is to return one inch of the West Bank. We must not view Hussein as existing forever – today it is Hussein, but tomorrow it is Nabulsi, and the day after that some Syrian will take hold of them and following that they will make a defense pact with the Soviet Union and China and we'll find ourselves in a much more difficult position. We are talking about a matter that is not forever, and we are placing it on a phenomenon that is flesh and blood, and perhaps will remain for a maximum of 60 years, if he does not get shot before that.". Allon said that he was "taking the maximum possibility. Not a canton, not an autonomous region, but an independent Arab state agreed on between us and them in an enclave surrounded by Israeli territory – independent even in its foreign policy." In July 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol stated that there was no choice in order to ensure Israel's security needs but to continue to control the entire area as far as the Jordan River, militarily. But in order to avoid turning Israel into a bi-national state, the Arab citizens of the West Bank should be granted a special status. A quasi-independent autonomous region was the first option.
Presentation of the plan
On 27 July 1967, Allon presented the first version of his plan based on the Palestinian option, which included Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank. The autonomous region consisted of two large enclaves, separated by the Greater Jerusalem area, from Israel in the west to the Jordan Valley in the east. A vast majority of the ministers rejected the plan when it was brought before the plenary session of the government on 30 July.
At the beginning of 1968, Allon abandoned the Palestinian option and instead adopted the Jordanian option. He adapted the Allon Plan by adding a corridor between the West Bank and Jordan through the Jericho area, proposing that the Jordan Valley remain in Israeli hands along with Gush Etzion, part of the Hebron foothills and East Jerusalem. All the remainder would be handed over to King Hussein. Most of the members of the Government then backed the Allon Plan as the basis of the policy.
From February to September 1968, Eshkol held secret talks with Palestinian leaders in the Occupied Territories without result. Parallel to the talks, secret conversations with Jordan started in London in May 1968, ending in November that year. Although the Allon Plan was never officially endorsed by the successive Israeli Cabinets, the peace plan Israel offered to King Hussein in September 1968 was based on it. The conditions included demilitarization of the West Bank, deployment of Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, and Israeli annexation of a 10 to 15 kilometers-wide strip of land along the Jordan River (the border with Jordan), most of the Judean desert along the Dead Sea, and East Jerusalem. The arrangements were to be valid for generations to come. Hussein, however, rejected the plan. He stuck to UN Resolution 242, including the statement that territories cannot be acquired by force. While Israel would remain military control over all of the West Bank and annex about one-third of the territory, Jordan would get political control over the remaining two-thirds. Eventually King Hussein broke off the talks. Israel wanted to keep Gaza, but did not rule out discussions on its future. The return of East Jerusalem was not open for discussion.
During the first decade of the occupation, the Israeli settlement policy was largely based on the Allon Plan. As the Plan propagated a security doctrine, the Jordan River marked the strategic border of Israel, serving as a buffer zone between Israel and the "Eastern Front". Settlements built in the Jordan Valley were designed as permanent advance-position lookouts in the 15 kilometers-wide strip along the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert to be annexed by Israel. Settlements in the Jordan Valley, which are typically agricultural settlements, are primarily located along two major north-south bypass roads: the Allon Road in the western and Route 90 in the eastern Jordan Valley. The Palestinians see the Jordan Valley, the most fertile part of the West Bank with important water resources, as the breadbasket for the future Palestinian State.
In June 1967, Israel de facto annexed East Jerusalem and surrounding parts of the West Bank by incorporating the areas into the Jerusalem Municipality, although it carefully avoided using the term annexation. In the following years, extensive construction of settlements took place in the Greater Jerusalem area, resulting in a ring of Israeli settlements that separates Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.
During and after the failed 2013-14 Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, renewed discussions appeared in the press about ideas from Israeli politicians to annex Area C. Area C includes the Jordan Valley, but encloses a much larger area.
While Hebron was predestined in the Allon Plan to be part of the Palestinian autonomous region, in 1968 Israel made it clear to Jordan that apart from the annexation of the Jordan Valley, it also wanted a strip of territory running to the Hebron area. Two years later, the Labor Government approved the building of the Kiryat Arba settlement, just outside the eastern municipality border. Kiryat Arba both marked the western border of the Israeli-claimed territory in the Allon Plan and blocked the Palestinian build-up area of Hebron in the east. In the following years Jewish settlements were established at the southern outskirts of the Old City. In 1994, Israel closed the Palestinian shops in Al-Shuhada Street and prohibited Palestinian access. In the years from 2002, the Worshippers Way from Kiryat Arba to the Cave of the Patriarchs was built. With the creation of a Palestinian-free route between Kiryat Arba and the Shuhada region, the planned strip from the Jordan Valley to Hebron was finished.
Defense Minister Dayan's views in May 1973
On 18 May 1973, the American Embassy in Israel sent a diplomatic cable to the Secretary of State in Washington DC on the subject of then-Defence Minister "Dayan's Thinking on Possible Peace Arrangements with Jordan and Egypt". The cable contained accounts of discussions with Dayan's close political ally, Deputy Transportation Minister Gad Yaacobi, that Dayan was preparing to expand the autonomy of Arab municipalities in the former West Bank of Jordan, which Israel had captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War. According to Yaacobi, Dayan was "preparing" for a greater "degree of autonomy for West Bank municipalities", while Dayan envisaged the "rest of the West Bank population though living under Israeli sovereignty as being fullfledged Jordanian citizens", with the exception of Ramallah's and Bethlehem's inhabitants, "who would become Israeli citizens." Yaacobi further stated that the media had misrepresented Dayan as being prepared to return most, if not all, of the West Bank to Jordan; he was not. Dayan felt it was important for Israelis to settle outside the lines of the Allon Plan, though not within Arab municipalities. The Greater Jerusalem area should be expanded to include Ramallah and Bethlehem, with Israeli citizenship granted its Arab inhabitants. Dayan envisaged a metropolitan Nablus-Jenin complex under the sovereignty of "the Arab nation east of the Jordan", an enclave smaller than the one outlined in the Allon Plan, and, unlike the provisions of the Allon Plan, internal security responsibilities would fall on the Israeli military in cooperation with Arab police.
In the initial version of the Allon Plan, he envisioned the Gaza Strip being annexed to Israel. In a subsequent revision of the plan, however, Allon conceived of Gaza as part of a Jordanian-Palestinian state.
- Yigal Allon (Peikowitz) (1918 – 1980). Knesset website. Accessed May 2014
- What was the 1967 Allon Plan. ProCon. Accessed May 2014
- Ian S. Lustick, For the land and the Lord: Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, chapter 3, par. Early Activities of Gush Emunim. 1988, the Council on Foreign Relations
- Akiva Eldar, A matter of a few dozen meters. Haaretz, 1 June 2008
- Reuven Pedatzur, The 'Jordanian option,' the plan that refuses to die. Haaretz, 25 July 2007
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1967–68. Volume Summary, par. The Search for Other Peace Prospects. Accessed May 2014
- 353. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State, par. 3.C and note 5 to par. 3.E; FRUS 1964–1968 Volume XX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1967–68. Accessed May 2014
- 373. Telegram From the Embassy in Jordan to the Department of State, par. 7-8; FRUS 1964–1968 Volume XX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1967–68. Accessed May 2014
- Separate and Unequal, Chapter IV. Human Rights Watch, 19 December 2010
- Gush Emunim. Knesset website. Accessed May 2014
″Gush Emunim was active first in attempts to establish Jewish settlements in areas outside the zones discussed in the "Allon Plan" (see Yigal Allon), from which the settlement policy of Yitzhak Rabin’s first government was derived.″
- Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel's Policy in the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea, pp. 5-6. B'Tselem, May 2011. On
- Israeli annexation policies in the Jordan Valley. PLO-NAD, September 2013
- Jerusalem Syndrome—The Palestinian–Israeli Battle for the Holy City, pp. 53-54. Mosheh ʻAmirav, Sussex University Press, 2009
On 10 July 1967, Foreign Minister Abba Eban explained to the UN Secretary General: ″The term 'annexation' which was used by supporters of the vote is not accurate. The steps that were taken [by Israel] relate to the integration of Jerusalem in administrative and municipal areas, and served as a legal basis for the protection of the holy places of Jerusalem.″
- In wake of talks' collapse, Bennett to present PM with proposal to annex Area C. Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, 15 May 2014
- Cables of 18 May 1973: Dayan's Thinking on Possible Peace Arrangements with Jordan & Egypt
- May 1973 cable, Summary
- May 1973 cable, paragraphs 2, 3c, 4a
- The Palestinian People: A History, p. 287. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal; Harvard University Press, 2009
- Bregman, Ahron (2002). Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947. London: Routledge.