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The War of Attrition: Israel Rejects the Rogers Plan

(December 22, 1969)

A number of meetings of the Cabinet were devoted to the change of the American Government's policy. Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin was asked to return home for consultations. At the conclusion of the Cabinet session on 22 December, the following statement explained the reasons for Israel's rejection of the Rogers Plan:

At the Cabinet's special session, the Foreign Minister reviewed the talks he had with the Secretary of State and other representatives of the U.S. Government. Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Yitzhak Rabin , reported on the latest developments in the policy of the U.S. concerning Middle East questions.

The Cabinet discussed the disquieting initiatives of the US Government within the sphere of the Four-Power talks. The Cabinet views with gravity the latest step of the US Government in submitting its proposals regarding the conflict between Israel and Egypt and Jordan.

The Cabinet rejects these American proposals, in that they:

Prejudice the chances of establishing peace;

Disregard the essential need to determine secure and agreed borders through the signing of peace treaties by direct negotiation;

Affect Israel's sovereign rights and security in the drafting of the resolutions concerning refugees and the status of Jerusalem, and contain no actual obligation of the Arab States to put a stop to the hostile activities of the sabotage and terror organizations.

If these proposals were to be carried out, Israel's security and peace would be in very grave danger. Israel will not be sacrificed by any Power policy, and will reject any attempt to impose a forced solution upon it.

In the 1967 war Israel stood alone, confronting vast forces desiring its destruction. Ever since then, Israel has not ceased proposing to the Arab Governments the opening of negotiations for the establishment of peace. And the Arab Governments consistently refuse to make peace, continue with their aggression and declare that they are making ready for a new all-out war.

The proposals submitted by the U.S. cannot but be construed by the aggressive Arab rulers as an attempt to appease them, at Israel's expense.

During all the years of its existence, Israel has adhered to a policy of peace with its neighbours. Upon the conclusion of the Six-Day War, the Government reiterated its declaration of striving for lasting peace to be accomplished through the signing of peace treaties after direct negotiation conducted by any party and in the course of which every party would have the right to make its proposals. Secure, agreed and recognized borders would be determined in these peace treaties.

This policy is in line with the law of the nations and accepted international rules on transition from war to peace. The Government will stand by its responsibility to maintain the security, safety and rights of the people of Israel in its own Land.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry