JERUSALEM (Nov. 23)
Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan has made it clear that the draft peace treaty with Egypt that the Cabinet approved by a 15-2 margin is not subject to any changes or additions. It is one package and should be treated as such by Egypt and Israel, Dayan said in a briefing for Foreign Ministry officials after the Cabinet vote Tuesday. “One can either take it or leave it,” he said. He stated that the Israeli negotiating team has no particular reason to return to Washington at this time to continue negotiations, a possible hint that the Israelis would return only for the purpose of initialing the draft treaty.
Dayan noted that the version approved by the Cabinet did not contain any Israeli concessions beyond those made by Israel at Camp David. He said the treaty includes all of the essential components for normalization of relations with Egypt, including demilitarized territories, the deployment of United Nations peace-keeping forces and the definition of the substance of peace.
The Cabinet, in voting to approve the treaty, rejected unequivocally the post-Camp David demands by Egypt for linkage and a timetable for implementation of autonomy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But it said Israel was prepared to start negotiations on autonomy as soon as the treaty is signed and ratified.
The consensus here is that the next move is up to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. The fact that Sadat recalled the head of the Egyptian negotiating team in Cairo for “consultations” Tuesday was not viewed with concern here. Political circles see it as a move to balance the return of the chief Israeli negotiators to Jerusalem and to give Sadat time to “think things over.” The fact that reports from Washington indicate that the Americans are generally optimistic that a treaty will be signed, dissipated any feelings that a crisis was at hand. (See related story Pg. 3.)
EGYPTIANS GOT QUID PRO QUO
The Israelis feel that they have given the Egyptians quid pro quo. By accepting American proposed compromise language in the treaty preamble–previously rejected by the Cabinet–which characterizes the treaty as a step toward an overall settlement of the Middle East conflict, Cairo has, in effect, gotten the linkage it wants, sources here said. To balance this, Israel will insist on a separate clause guaranteeing the validity of the treaty irrespective of developments in other fields, such as the implementation of autonomy.
At the moment, it is believed that a peace treaty can be signed on Dec. 10, the day Premier Menachem Begin and Sadat receive the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. But that date is not regarded as an absolute deadline and if it is not met it will not mean the peace negotiations have failed, Israeli circles noted.