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The Rogers Plan was a framework proposed by United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers to achieve an end to belligerence in the Arab-Israeli conflict following the Six-Day War and the continuing War of Attrition. The plan was publicly proposed in a December 9, 1969 speech at an Adult Education conference,
Some of the points included in Rogers’ ten-point paper called for the following:
- Negotiations under Gunnar Jarring’s auspices following procedures used in the 1949 meetings on Rhodes;
- Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory occupied in the war;
- a binding commitment by Israel and the United Arab Republic to peace with each other
- Negotiations between Israel and Egypt for agreement on areas to be demilitarized, measures to guarantee free passage through the Gulf of Aqaba, and security arrangements for Gaza;
Stalemate and complications in negotiations
Failure of the Jarring Mission and the mediated peace talks reflected a long-standing stalemate between Israel and Egypt. Whereas Israel demanded a formal recognition of its sovereignty, gained via direct peace talks with Egypt, Egypt would only agree to offer a peace sponsored by the third-party United Nations (this would allow Egypt to avoid political fallout from the Arab nations, which were strongly opposed to recognition of Israel). In addition to this peace, Israel would return all land to Egypt. Both parties viewed the conflicting interests as a stalemate only to be resolved via military intimidation. Whereas the US government view hoped to use promises of arms to gain Israeli concessions on land, Israel desired arms to secure the land it refused to give up.
Negotiations leading up to Rogers’ plan were complicated not only by hostilities between Israel and Egypt, but also by the differing philosophies adopted by the Soviet Union and the United States in approaching the negotiations. Soviet strategy during the peace talks had been to “bring the Egyptians with them every step of the way. American strategy was wholly different. There was never any question of trying to persuade the Israelis to endorse each American move as it was made. To secure Israel’s agreement the Americans calculated that they would first have to have that of Egypt and the Soviet Union”.
Thus, though both Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yitzhak Rabin had conferred with U.S. President Richard Nixon in the last few months of 1969, Rogers' speech was viewed as a surprise.
Israel rejected the plan on December 10, 1969, calling it “an attempt to appease [the Arabs] at the expense of Israel. The Soviets dismissed it as “one-sided” and “pro-Israeli.” President Nasser rejected it because it was a separate deal with Israel even if Egypt recovered all of Sinai.
The Six-Day War (1967) and the War of Attrition (1969–1970)
In an unsuccessful attempt to draw the UN intervention following the cease-fire which ended the Six Day War, the Egyptians launched a new round of artillery duels with Israeli forces. While Secretary Rogers pursued his peace plan, Pres. Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, with the assistance of three brigades of Soviet troops, rapidly escalated the War of Attrition against Israeli forces at the Suez Canal in an attempt to inflict maximum casualties on Israeli forces.
Aftermath: historical implications
On June 1970, Rogers initiated a ceasefire plan, sometimes called the second rogers plan Egypt accepted the ceasefire plan. Israel eventually accepted it, which had resulted in the right-wing Gahal party leaving Golda Meir's government in August 1970. The acceptance had resulted in the August 7, 1970, "in place" cease-fire.
According to the cease-fire agreement, both sides were required not to change "the military status quo within zones extending 50 kilometers to the east and west of the cease-fire line." Although forbidden in the ceasefire agreement, Egypt immediately moved anti-aircraft batteries into the zone. By October there were about 100 SAM sites in the zone, and Rogers made no diplomatic effort to secure their removal, setting in motion the 1973 Yom Kippur War. For this reason, Secretary Rogers had little credibility in Israel.
Israeli military assertiveness resulted in a political setback with the United States, whereas Nasser had gained a respite that enabled him to consolidate his missile defense systems that had grown out from the war. Nasser also used the negotiations as a way of opening the lines of communication with the United States to counter his growing reliance on the Soviet Union. The PLO was shocked and angered by the agreement, which led for Habash and Hawatmah attempts to overthrow King Hussein. These actions led to civil war breaking out in Jordan on September 16, 1970.
No breakthrough occurred even after President Sadat in 1972 surprised everyone by suddenly expelling Soviet advisers from Egypt and again signaled to Washington his willingness to negotiate. However, on 28 February 1973, during a visit in Washington, Golda agreed with Henry Kissinger's peace proposal based on "security versus sovereignty": Israel would accept Egyptian sovereignty over all Sinai, while Egypt would accept Israeli presence in some of Sinai strategic positions. Anwar Sadat continued this trend, by both standing by the Rogers Plan, and kicking out the pro-Soviet group of Ali Sabry in April 1971. It is unlikely, however, that the United States viewed the relations the same way since the State Department's focus was U.S.–Soviet competition as opposed to regional conflicts. The resolution also exacerbated the divisions between Kissinger and Rogers, showing the Middle Eastern countries that the goals of American foreign policy were different. Kissinger did not want to involve the Soviet Union or any Arab countries friendly to them; in hopes they would turn to the United States and reject the Soviet Union. Israel used this in hopes of preventing all peace talks, which could have resulted in getting greater land capitulations from Arab countries due to Israel's military strength. Nasser forestalled any movement toward direct negotiations with Israel. In dozens of speeches and statements, Nasser posited the equation that any direct peace talks with Israel were tantamount to surrender.
- Allison Astorino-Courtois (1998). "Clarifying Decisions: Assessing the Impact of Decision Structures on Foreign Policy Choices During the 1970 Jordanian Civil War". International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 42, pp. 733–753.
- Jerome Slater (1991). "The Superpowers and an Arab-Israeli Political Settlement: The Cold War Years". Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 105, No. 4, pp. 557–577.
- Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006.
- Galvani, John, Peter Johnson, and Rene Theberge. "The October War: Egypt, Syria, Israel." MERIP Reports 3 (1973): 3–21. JSTOR. 17 Mar. 2009 .
- Korn, David A. "US-Soviet Negotiations of 1969 and the Rogers Plan" The Middle East Journal; Winter 1990; 44, 1; Research Library pg. 37
- Records of the Israeli Knesset. 
- Rogers initial plan full text
- Various other Rogers plans
- "Statement by Secretary of State Rogers- 9 December 1969". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Itamar Rabinovich; Haim Shaked. From June to October: The Middle East Between 1967 And 1973. Transaction Publishers. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4128-2418-7.
- Benny Morris (25 May 2011). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1998. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-307-78805-4. "The Israeli cabinet publicly rejected the plan in communiques issued on December 10 and 22, calling it “an attempt to appease [the Arabs] at the expense of Israel.” ...But it was Egypt and the USSR who in fact definitively shot down the plan. The Soviets dismissed it as “one-sided” and “pro-Israeli.” Nasser rejected a separate deal with Israel (even if he recovered all of Sinai) as well as demilitarization of the peninsula after Israeli withdrawal, freedom of maritime passage for Israeli vessels, and various security arrangements—all stipulated in the Rogers Plan as part of the quid pro quo."
- Smith 2006
- Confronting the Costs of War, Michael N. Barnett, p. 125, Princeton University Press, 1993
- "The Rogers Plan- an American peace plan for the Middle East.". The Israeli Knesset (parliament) site. 2008.
- Morris 2011 p. 360
- Itamar Rabinovich; Haim Shaked. From June to October: The Middle East Between 1967 And 1973. Transaction Publishers. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4128-2418-7.
- Smith 2006 p. 318
- Smith 2001 p. 320
- Morris 2011 p. 389
- Shibley Telhami. "The Camp David Accords: A Case of International Bargaining". Columbia International Affairs Online.
- Yitzhak Rabin (1996). The Rabin Memoirs. University of California Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-520-20766-0. "security versus sovereignty"...Israel would have to accept Egyptian sovereignty over all the Sinai, while Egypt ,in turn, would have to accept Israeli military presence in certain [Sinai] strategic positions."
- . JSTOR 3012270. Missing or empty
- Smith 2006 p. 320
- Smith 2006 p.320
- Itamar Rabinovich; Haim Shaked. From June to October: The Middle East Between 1967 And 1973. Transaction Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-4128-2418-7. "In dozens of speeches and statements, Nasser posited the equation that any direct peace talks with Israel were tantamount to surrender. His efforts to forestall any movement toward direct negotiations ..."