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The Allon Plan
On July 26, 1967, Defense Minister Yigal Allon presented a plan to then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol for a settlement with the Palestinians, which came to be known as the Allon Plan. The plan was clarified publicly in a 1976 Foreign Affairs magazine article. The basic features of the plan were:
1. Israel would retain control of the Jordan valley and of the "back of the mountain." According to Israeli military strategists, this control was needed in order to control the West Bank militarily. Most of this area is desert and is not settled by Palestinians or used by them. However, the plan would control Palestinian access to Jordan and would create several separate enclaves.
2. The Jordan river would remain the eastern border of Israel, allowing Israel to prevent foreign armies from crossing into the West Bank and massing for an attack on the center of Israel.
3. Israel would annex areas in the Jerusalem corridor to secure the approaches to Jerusalem.
4. Palestinians would be given control of three populous enclaves - a northern enclave including Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and Ramallah, a southern enclave including Hebron and Bethlehem, and an enclave including Jericho that included a crossing to Jordan. The enclaves would be connected by connecting roads.
The strategic concepts underlying the plan have been part of Israeli military doctrine since 1948. Labor party settlement policies generally followed this plan, concentrating settlements in the Jordan valley. The settlement in Hebron, and settlements in Ariel and other areas were set up despite Labor government opposition.
The plan did not provide for Israeli control of the aquifers that underlie the West Bank. The plan also did not really solve the major strategic headache of Israel, which is the proximity of the border to Tel Aviv and Nethanya in the North. The assumption apparently was that Israeli control of the border and the Jordan Valley, and Jordanian control of the Palestinian areas, would ensure that the Palestinian areas remained demilitarized. The Israeli government envisaged a settlement that included return of the "Palestinian Control" areas to Jordan, or giving those areas an autonomous status. Several variations of this plan were proposed over the years. Jordan refused to consider any solution that allowed Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank. Though the Allon plan itself became largely irrelevant after King Hussein gave up Jordanian control of the West Bank in the 80s, the elements of the plan continue to influence Israeli strategic thinking and peace proposals.
Map adapted from Tessler, Mark, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1994.
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