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Yigal Allon (1918-1980)

Yigal Allon

27 Years to Yigal Allon - Israel's foreign minister under the first Rabin government, and one of Israel's greatest military minds.

'Not only failures must be examined, but also the political and military conception.'

'The problem is finding the right timing.'

'Recent years were not used to ensure momentum for Israel's political thinking and for taking initiatives.'

'We must not avoid drawing stark conclusions and taking a rational position in evaluating the state of affairs.'

Yigal Allon, after Yom-Kippur War.

 

Yigal Allon's Bio

Yitzhak Rabin and Yigal Allon

An Israel statesman and military commander, Yigal Allon was born at Kfar Tavor in the Lower Galilee. In 1937 he graduated from the Kadoorie Agricultural School, and in the same year, became a member of Kibbutz Ginnosar.

His activities in underground defense began during the Arab riots of 1936--1939, when he served under Yitzhak Sadeh in the special units of the Haganah.

In 1941 he was among the founders of the Palmah, the crack commando unit of the Haganah he became its commander in 1945. During the War of Independence he commanded decisive operations in all parts of the country, and in the final stages of the War he commanded the southern front, driving the invading Arab armies from the whole of the Negev, including Eilat and part of the Sinai peninsula. He came to be regarded as the most experienced field commander in the Israel Defense Forces and left his stamp on the standards that characterize Israel's army officers.

After the War of Independence, he studied at the Hebrew University and at Oxford. Turning his attention to political activity, he became one of the leaders of the Ahdut ha-Avodah political party, and in 1954 was elected to the Knesset.

From 1961 to 1968 he served as minister of labor, where he improved the state employment service, extended the road network and introduced legislation on labor relations. In June, 1967, he was a member of the inner war cabinet that mapped out the Six-Day War strategy. In 1968 Allon became deputy prime minister, and in the following year became minister of education and culture as well.

According to Allon's ideas on a peace settlement with Israel's neighbors, Judea and Samaria should be reunited with Jordan, but no Jordanian troops should be permitted to cross the Jordan River westward, and there should be a protective belt of Israel settlements along the Jordan Valley. From 1974 to 1977 Allon was Foreign Minister of Israel while retaining the deputy premiership.

The Allon Plan

"Allon Plan"

The key to any peace agreement between Israel and its hostile Arab neighbors has always been the concept of "secure borders". United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, the basic building block of any such peace agreement, anticipates that Israel will withdraw to secure borders (not specified in the resolution) in exchange for peace guarantees from the Arab parties. Over the years, many plans have been put forward designed to achieve this balance of "land for peace".

One of the early attempts, not long after the June 1967 Six-Day War, was the "Allon Plan", written by Yigal Allon, who specified what "secure borders" meant in the pages of Foreign Affairs in October 1976. Allon was Israel's foreign minister under the first Rabin government, and was one of Israel's greatest military minds.

The Allon Plan proposed that Israel would relinquish the main Arab-populated areas of Judea and Samaria to Jordanian political jurisdiction, while retaining under Israeli military control a narrow, thinly-populated strip along the Jordan River. This strip would start in the North near the Syrian border, continue down through the Jordan Valley and the Judean desert, and connect further down with the Negev.In this concept, Israel would control a strategic zone in the eastern West Bank running up from the Jordan Valley to the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge. This area would allow Israel's small standing army to hold off an assault from a combination of Arab states to Israel's east for enough time for Israel to mobilize and deploy its reserve forces, which constitute the bulk of Israel's military power. For these "secure borders" Allon envisioned that Israel would need some 700 square miles of the 2100 square miles that make up the West Bank (about one-third).

Additionally, Allon wrote in July, 1967, that Israel needed to include the road connecting Jerusalem to the Dead Sea as well as a widened Jerusalem corridor west of Ramallah and stressed the importance of Greater Jerusalem. These additions could easily bring the Alon Plan to about 40 percent of the West Bank

The "Allon Plan" was originally conceived when Middle Eastern armies were relatively small and primarily composed of slow infantry formations. The contemporary situation is much different, and ballistic missiles can arc over any defense at the border, but this only increases the importance of superior topographical conditions and secure borders for Israel's small standing army.

Following the concepts of the Allon Plan, the 1967-1977 Israeli Labor governments created 21 settlements along the Jordan Valley and Eastern slopes of Samaria during that period, and avoided construction on the mountain ridge from Nablus to Jerusalem to Hebron.

(from "Palestine Facts", Jewish Agency, map from defensibleborders.org) 

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