TEL AVIV (Sep. 4)
Moshe Dayan said today. “I’ll regret very much if the Labor Party would decide to oust me for my vote over the interim agreement.” But the former Defense Minister, who was preparing to leave for a lecture tour in the U.S. on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal, is not likely to be drummed out of the party for violating its discipline in the Knesset debate over the interim accord with Egypt yesterday, most political observers believe.
Dayan, Mordechai Ben Porat and Amos Hadar were the only Laborites to vote against the pact which the Knesset approved overwhelmingly last night by a vote of 70-43 with seven abstentions. But since their votes were not crucial to the outcome, they have nothing to fear with respect to their future membership in the party, political sources said:
One Labor Party leader observed that their isolation may be their punishment. On the other hand, it is always possible that some party members would demand exemplary action against the dissenters. But the general feeling is that this would amount to no more than a general verbal rebuke. Dayan said that although he bolted party discipline yesterday he had no plans to become a one-man independent Knesset faction. He said he would continue to be active in the Knesset and devote time to writing his book.
PERES STRONGLY DEFENDS PACT
Although Dayan and Ben Porat, who are members of the Labor Party’s Rafi wing, opposed the pact, another prominent Rafi member, Defense Minister Shimon Peres, argued forcefully in favor of the agreement. Peres, who with Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Yigal Allon comprised the Israeli negotiating team for the pact, said the crucial question was whether Israel’s defense would be weakened and war would break out despite the agreement. He answered his own question with a flat “No.”
Peres declared that the Israeli army is capable of defending and holding the new line in peace or in war. He said, however, that Israel would have to maintain a high state of alert on its borders particularly the Lebanese border where the Palestinian terrorists are concentrated and may try to sabotage the agreement with Egypt.
Peres said that Israel also had to maintain vigilance against Syria. However, he said, Israel’s fortifications on the Golan Heights were almost completed and Syria would think twice before embarking on a war alone or in a military coalition with Jordan. He said that while Jordan has drawn closer to Syria, has been fortifying her border with Israel and is taking a more militant line than before, Amman had to consider the fact that Saudi Arabia endorsed the Israeli-Egyptian accord. Jordan would do better to align itself with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran than with Syria, Peres said.
RIMALT OPPOSED THE ACCORD
Elimelech Rimalt, leader of the Liberal Party wing of the opposition Likud; voted against the agreement. He contended that Egypt gave no quid pro quo for Israeli concessions and that all Israel received was indemnification from the United States. He suggested sarcastically that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger set up a price expert’s department within the State Department to compute the extent of “damages” payable to Israel for future withdrawals from the Golan Heights and the West Bank. He said he could not imagine what the “price” for Jerusalem would be.