Middle East Studies

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The Nixon Administration and the Middle East Peace Process, 1969–1973

From the Rogers Plan to the Outbreak of the Yom Kippur War

Dr. Boaz Vanetik is a History lecturer at the Achva Academic College (Israel). His recent book (co-author Zaki Shalom) is The Yom Kippur War: The War That Could Have Been Prevented (Hebrew 2012).

Prof. Zaki Shalom is a senior researcher at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute, Ben-Gurion University and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University. He has published widely on the Middle East, including Israel's Nuclear Option.

The Yom Kippur War was a watershed moment in Israeli society and a national trauma whose wounds have yet to heal some four decades later. In the years following the war many studies addressed the internal and international political background prior to the war, attempting to determine causes and steps by political players and parties in Israel, Egypt and the United States. But to date there has been no comprehensive study based on archival materials and other primary sources. Classified documents from that period have recently become available and it is now possible to examine in depth a crucial period in Middle East history generally and Israeli history in particular. The authors provide a penetrating and insightful viewpoint on the question that lies at the heart of the Israeli polity and military: Was an opportunity missed to prevent the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War? The book provides surprising answers to longstanding issues:

How did National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, succeed in torpedoing the efforts of the State Department to bring about an interim agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1971?

Would that agreement have allowed Israel to hold on to most of the Sinai Peninsula for many years and at the same time avert the outbreak of the war.

Did Golda Meir reject any diplomatic initiative that came up for discussion in the years preceding the war

Was the Middle East policy of the White House throughout 1973 a catalyst for war breaking out?

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-577-9
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $79.95
Release Date: March 2013
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-720-9
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: April 2015
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No



Part One: The Twilight of the Nasser Regime: 1967–1970
1 The Middle East Arena Following the Six Day War
2 The Johnson Administration's Attempts to Promote a Settlement between Israel and Egypt in 1968
3 The "Two-Power Talks" (US–USSR): March–September 1969
4 The First Rogers Plan, October–December 1969
5 The Rogers Initiative for a Ceasefire in the Suez Canal – June 1970, Part 1
6 The Rogers Initiative for a Ceasefire in the Suez Canal – June 1970, Part 2
7 The Crisis in Jordan (September 1970) and its Implications

Part Two: 'The Stalemate Policy': 1971–1972
8 Sadat Replaces Nasser – Cairo and Washington Begin Moving Closer
9 Attempts to Arrange an Interim Agreement in the Suez Canal: February 1971
10 Ongoing Efforts to Reach an Interim Israeli-Egyptian Agreement
11 The Unofficial Death of the Rogers Plan

Part Three: The Run up to the Yom Kippur War: Autumn 1972–October 1973
12 Reinforcing the Status Quo in the Region
13 Complacency in the Shadow of Continued Diplomatic Stalemate
14 Summary and Conclusions

Abbreviations Used in this Book

Reviewed in Eunomia (December 2013).

The authors of this important work, who are affiliated with two Israeli universities, argue that the 1973 Yom Kippur War was a watershed event in Israel's history, altering its conflict with Egypt and the Arab world, dramatically changing its own internal politics, and impacting US–Soviet relations in the Middle East. Basing their book on recently declassified documents, the authors provide penetrating insight into the causes of the 1973 war. They argue that without the full participation of President Nixon in the peace process, there was but a slim chance of diplomatic progress. For Nixon and national security adviser Henry Kissinger, the situation in the Middle East did not amount to a critical crisis, as they believed that Egypt would not attack Israel because of its clear military dominance. Given Nixon's preoccupation with the Vietnam War, the administration viewed the region as one where the US could reach an understanding with the USSR to reduce superpower tensions. Consequently, the White House turned its back on the State Department's Rogers Plan and pursued the policy of “stalemate,” thus refraining from influencing Israel to show diplomatic flexibility with regard to the territories conquered during the Six-Day War. Highly recommended.
Choice, J. Fischel, Messiah College

This volume examines the efforts of President Nixon and his administration to promote a diplomatic settlement between Israel and Egypt during 1969-1973 and the causes of their failure, particularly the lack of active involvement of Nixon and the undermining of the Rogers Plan by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. It describes the landscape of the Middle East following the Six Day War and American foreign policy in the region during the final days of Lyndon Johnson's administration from 1967 to 1969; the efforts of Secretary of State William Pierce Rogers and his Assistant for Near Eastern Affairs, Joseph Sisco, to reach an understanding with the Soviet Union about the nature of the settlement between Israel and Egypt during the “Two-Power Talks”; the success of the US in ending the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt in 1970 and the State Department's failed attempt to promote the “Interim Agreement” in the Suez Canal area between the two countries; and the causes that led to a political stalemate in the Middle East in the wake of the State Department's failure to achieve an intermediate settlement between Israel and Egypt in 1971, up to the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

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