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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, and was formally announced on June 19, 1970. Despite eventual concessions Egyptians ceded for the plan, Israel lobbyists opposed to the proposal galvanized the American public against it.[dead link] In a secret discussion with Prime Minister Golda Meir in late 1972--unknown to others in the USG --Secretary of State Kissinger promised there would be no peace initiatives from the US until after the late 1973 Israeli elections.(see "The Road to War", by Yigal Kipnis, 2013).
The December 1969 speech followed the failure of the Jarring Mission to negotiate an implementation plan for UN Security Council Resolution 242 among the principals in the Six-Day War. It was in the context of the UN's failure to arbitrate Egypt–Israel tensions that the Soviet Union approached the US Nixon administration with the proposal to negotiate a peace settlement in the Middle East, with the two superpowers acting as mediators. The Soviet Union would work with Egypt and the United States would seek to represent Israel's interests.
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;
- An agreement signed by the two sides officially ending the state of war and prohibiting “acts inconsistent with the state of peace between them”;
- 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;
- A "fair settlement of the refugee problem".[dead link]
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.
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.
According to the August 7, 1970, "in place" 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." However, 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. The Israeli interpretation of his plan was that it required Israel to withdraw from areas captured during the Six-Day War without any assurances of a lasting peace from Arab states. As a result, the Israeli government determined that support of the plan would be "irresponsible", and refused overtures from Egypt to enter into discussions aimed at settlement of the conflict called for by the plan. The Rogers peace plan finally failed due to lack of support from Israel (though an initial decision to accept it had resulted in the right-wing Gahal party leaving Golda Meir's government in August 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.
Historical implications and aftermath
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. 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. 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.
- 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 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3012270>.
- 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. 
- "Statement by Secretary of State Rogers- 9 December 1969". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Astorino-Courtois 1998, p. 737
- Smith 2006
- Astorino-Courtois 1998: pp. 737, 744
- Slater 1991: p. 573
- Confronting the Costs of War, Michael N. Barnett, p. 125, Princeton University Press, 1993
- Shibley Telhami. "The Camp David Accords: A Case of International Bargaining". Columbia International Affairs Online.
- Smith 2006 p. 318
- . JSTOR 3012270. Missing or empty
- Smith 2006 p. 320
- Smith 2006 p.320
- Smith 2001 p. 320