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Photo: US Secretary of State, William Rogers with Israel's Chief of Staff, Chaim Bar-Lev.
US Secretary of State, William Rogers with Israel's Chief of Staff, Chaim Bar-Lev.

Photo: US Secretary of State William Rogers with Yigal Allon, Golda Meir, and Abba Eban.
US Secretary of State William Rogers with Yigal Allon, Golda Meir, and Abba Eban.

Rogers Plan

The Rogers Plan was an American peace plan for the Middle East.

The American Secretary of State, William Rogers, initiated a plan for breaking through the deadlock in Israeli-Arab relations since the Six Day War. The plan was brought up in the middle of the War of Attrition, in December 1969, and it included several principles: An Israeli withdrawal to the international border with Egypt; setting, through negotiation, the status of the Gaza Strip and Sharm el Sheikh and removing them from Israeli sovereignty; maintaining Jerusalem as a unified city run by the three main religions; and securing a safe passage for Israeli ships through the Suez Canal.

Egypt rejected the plan for being pro-Israeli. Israel also rejected it for not attending enough to Israelís security needs, for not setting guidelines for direct negotiations on a formal peace treaty, and for removing Israelís governance over Jerusalem.

On December 18th the plan was expanded by Charles Yost, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and it also dealt with the Jordanian front. It also included minor adjustments of the borderline in its suggestion for Israelís withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice Agreement border; the Arab refugees were given an option between compensation or return to Israel; Israel and Jordan were granted equal status of sovereignty on the civilian, economic, and religious aspects of life in Jerusalem; and free passage was promised in the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan agreed to negotiate the plan, but Israel rejected it on December 22nd.

Rogers initiated a second plan in June 1970, which suggested negotiations between Israel and Egypt with the mediation of UN envoy, Swedish Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, who had tried in the past to promote a peace process between the countries. This series of negotiations was meant to correspond to the United Nationsí Security Council Resolution 242 Ė bringing about a just and solid peace, based on mutual recognition of the sovereignty, independence, and territory of each country. Israel was to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967. As a first step in its implementation, Jarring suggested to renew the ceasefire between Israel and Egypt. Israel rejected the plan on June 21st, while Egypt Ė allegedly concerned about a further acceleration in the War of Attrition Ė agreed to negotiations.

Egyptís willingness brought about an increase in American pressure on Israel. President Nixon sent clarifications on the plan to Prime Minister Golda Meir stating that: Israel will withdraw to agreed borders taking into account its security, and not to the borders prior to the Six Day War, and the withdrawal will be executed following the signing of a binding bilateral agreement; the solution suggested regarding the refugees will not harm Israelís characteristic as a Jewish state; the United States guarantees Israelís sovereignty, security and territorial entirety; and the balance of arms will be preserved. The Israeli Government gave its basic consent to the plan on July 31st 1970, causing the Herut-Liberal Bloc to resign from the coalition.

The Israeli-Egyptian new ceasefire came into affect on August 7th, but Israel suspended the Jarring talks shortly thereafter due to Egyptís violation of the Ceasefire Agreement and stationing of anti-aircraft warfare alongside the Suez Canal. The talks were renewed in early February 1971.

A third Rogers Plan, for an interim agreement across the Canal, was rejected by Israel on October 4th 1971, numerous hours after it was submitted for approval. The rejection was given due to the planís lack of reference to future possibilities of conducting a peace process.

All versions of the Rogers Plan did not concern the Syrian front.

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