The “Galili Plan”
From left to right: Yosef Burg, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Yigal Alon, Israel Galili, and Abba Eban in 1974 at Knesset Plenum. Photo: Knesset.

(August 1973)

Israeli Labor Party Ministers. “The Galili Plan.” Jerusalem. August 1973. International Documents on Palestine, 1973. University of Kuwait. Ed. Fuad A. Jabber. Beirut: Institute on Palestine Studies, 1972. 269-71. Print.

During the summer of 1973, the Israel Labor Party debated ideas about developing a firm policy on the future of the territories gained and occupied since the June 1967 war: to what degree and in what areas should Israel build and expand its physical and demographic presence in the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Sinai Peninsula? There were, at the time, less than three dozen Israeli settlements in these areas, with fewer than several thousand Israelis settled in these territories. Without any Arab country stepping forward to negotiate with Israel for the return of these lands (as this would have meant recognizing Israel’s legitimacy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity) the Israeli government planned unimpeded settlement policies. Arab refusal to negotiate with Israel allowed the Israeli government to manage the territories at will.

Israel Galili, a longtime adviser to Golda Meir, and before that to David Ben-Gurion, issued his plan prior to the Eighth Knesset elections scheduled for October 1973. His ideas were a series of compromise proposals derived from broad ideas for the territories previously suggested by Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Defense Minister. Dayan had suggested extensive Israeli development in the territories; the establishment of new centers for settlements and industries in greater Jerusalem, in and around Hebron and the northern West Bank near Tulkarem and Kalkilyah; expansion of settlements in the Golan Heights; and building a deep-water port at Yamit on the Gaza coast.

Three prominent members of the Labor Party, Prime Minister Golda Meir, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir, and Foreign Minister Abba Eban, like the international community, objected to Dayan’s expansionist plan. Galili softened Dayan’s ideas: according to the Galili Plan adopted by the Labor Party in September 1973, the Labor Party would not change the political status of the occupied territories. When he came to office in May 1977, Menachem Begin also did not change the political status of the West Bank and Gaza areas. As opposed to Dayan’s financial specifications needed for new projects and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza areas, Galili omitted all mention of funding. Also, Galili omitted from the plan, expansion of Israeli settlement activities into Northern Jerusalem, but did mention the establishment of new settlements in the Jordan Valley, Raffah near Gaza, and the Golan Heights. He reaffirmed Dayan’s hope to develop a deep-water port south of Yamit.  He also proposed that Israel return one third of the Golan Heights to Syria in peace negotiations. Israel had settled in comfortably in the Golan Heights and was essentially signaling to Damascus, at least under Labor Party control, that the return of all of the Heights was not likely even in exchange for a peace agreement. Due to the outbreak of the October 1973 war, Israeli parliamentary elections were postponed until December 1973, at which time the Labor Party was returned to office. From 1973 to 1977, until the Israeli Labor Party was turned out of office by Menachem Begin’s right wing Herut party, relatively few settlements were established in any of the territories. 

-Ken Stein, May 2009

Preamble. These points of agreement are not decisions endorsed by the Party and the Labor Alignment, but recommendations by the Labor Party ministers. The Prime Minister has submitted these points of agreement to the authorized organizations (the Party, the Labour Alignment and the government) for their approval. These points will be set out as guide-lines in the electoral program of the Labor Alignment and included in the government’s general plan of action. Once the basic lines of the plans of action have been approved the projects will be worked out in practical detail, and the budgets for their implementation will be included in the government’s annual budgets. The plan of action in the occupied areas for the next four years will not be conditional on any change in the political status of these areas or the civil status of the inhabitants and the refugees.

Principles. the next government will continue to operate in the occupied areas on the basis of the policy pursued by the present government – development, provision of employment and services, economic links, open bridges, encouragement of initiative and the renewal of municipal representation, orders from the military government, village and town settlement, improvement of the refugee camps, specific and controlled work in Israel for Arab workers from the occupied areas.

Rehabilitation of Refugees and Economic Development in the Gaza Strip. A four-year plan of action will be drawn up, and the necessary funds allocated for its execution, with a view to ensuring the rehabilitation of the refugees, and economic development. The main points of this plan of action will be: Changing the housing situation (establishing places of residence for the refugees near the camps, improving the camps and making the municipalities of neighboring towns responsible for them); vocational training; improving health and livelihood in trades and industry; encouraging the population to take the initiative in improving their standard of living.

Development of Judea and Samaria. A four-year plan of action will be drawn up and the necessary financing for its execution ensured, with the object of ensuring the development of the economic infrastructure and improving the essential services (health, electrical, etc.); developing the water services to meet the requirements of the population; developing vocational and higher education; developing electrical communications and transport services; improving streets and roads; developing trade and industry as sources of employment for the inhabitants; improving the refugees; housing situation; and help to the municipal authorities.

Financing Judea and Samaria. Once it is endorsed by the government, the agreement reached between the Ministries of Finance and Defense will constitute the basis of decisions as to how the plans of action in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank should be financed.

International Financing: Efforts will be made to obtain from external sources the means to finance projects for the rehabilitation of the refugees and development in the occupied areas.

Encouraging Israeli Business in the Territories. Facilities and incentives will be provided to encourage Israelis to establish industrial projects in the occupied areas (in accordance with the proposal submitted by the Minister of Trade and Industry to the Governmental Committee for Economic Affairs on August 1).

Encouraging Local Residents’ Initiative in Judea and Samaria. Aid will be given for self-initiative of the inhabitants in the fields of education, religion and services, and in the field of developing democratic forms in social and municipal life. As far as possible local persons will be appointed to high civilian posts in the [Military] Government.

The Policy of Open Bridges. The policy of open bridges will continue.

Work for the Inhabitants of the Territories in Israel. Work for the inhabitants of the occupied territories in Israel and in Jewish economic areas in the occupied territories will be subject to control as regards both numbers and the areas in which workers are allowed to work. Necessary measures will be taken to ensure working conditions and wages similar to those in Israel.

Paramilitary and Civilian Settlements. New settlements will be established and the network of settlements will be reinforced. Efforts will be made to increase their population by developing trade, industry and tourism. When the government’s annual budget is drawn up from year to year it will be decided what means are necessary for the new settlements, in accordance with the recommendations of the Settlement Department, and after the approval of the Ministerial Committee on Settlement to establish new settlements in the next four years in the Rafah Approaches, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. They will include a civilian-industrial settlement in the Golan Heights, a regional centre in the Jordan Valley, development of the north-east shore of the Sea of Galilee and the north-west shore of the Dead Sea and executing the planned water projects. Non-governmental organizations, both public and private will be included within the framework of the plans approved by the government for the development of sites for settlement.

The Regional Centre in the Rafah Approaches. The continued development of the Regional center in the Rafah Approaches will be ensured so that it may comprise 800 housing units by the year 1977–1978. Industrial development for settlers prepared to settle at their own expense will be encouraged.

The Unification and Purchase of Land in the Territories. 1. More intensive action to unify lands for the requirements of existing and planned settlement (purchase, state lands, absentees; lands, exchanges of lands, arrangements with the inhabitants) will be expanded. 2. The Israel Lands Authority will be recommended to expand purchases of land and real estate in the occupied areas for the purposes of settlement, development and land exchange. 3. The Lands Authority will lease to companies and individuals for the execution of approved projects. 4. The Lands Authority will also try to buy lands by all effective means, in particular through companies and individuals who buy lands, in coordination with the Lands Authority on its behalf. 5. Purchases of lands and real estate by companies and individuals will be approved only in cases where it is ascertained that the Directorate is unable to buy or not interested in buying the lands on its own account. 6. A special Cabinet Committee will be authorized to grant permits, on condition that the lands purchased are intended for constructive projects and not for speculation, and within the framework of the government’s policy. 7. The Israel Lands Authority will also make a point of acquiring lands already bought by Jews.

Jerusalem and Environs. Provision of housing an industrial development in the capital and its environs will be continued with a view to consolidation beyond the original area. To achieve this goal, efforts will be made to buy additional land; the government lands in the area to the east and south of Jerusalem which the government has decided to enclose will be exploited.

Nabi Samuel. The government’s decision taken on September 13, 1970, on the settlement of Nabi Samuel will be implemented.

A Deep Sea Port in Southern Gaza. In preparation for the rapid development of the Rafah Approaches studies will be carried out in the course of two or three years on the basic facts of the proposal to construct a deep sea port south of Gaza – the geographical situation, the economic viability and the political considerations. When the results have been obtained and a practical project has been submitted, the government will take a decision on the matter.

An Industrial Center in Kfar Saba. The necessary conditions will be ensured for the establishment of an industrial center attached to Kfar Saba beyond the Green Line, as also for the development of Israeli industry in the areas of Tulkarm and Qalqilya.