Israeli Parliament Approves Camp David Peace Accords

By a vote of 85 to 19, with 16 abstentions, the Israeli parliament approved early today the Camp David Mideast 'framework for peace' and voted to remove the Jewish settlements from the Sinai peninsula, clearing the way for a peace treaty with Egypt.

The vote by the Knesset enables a new round of peace talks between Israel and Egypt to proceed, leading to a peace treaty between those two countries within three months and the eventual end of Israel's 11-year occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip.

The Knesset passage early this morning, Israeli time, climaxed more than 17 hours of intensive debate on the highly emotion-charged issue. Seventy-seven of the 120 members of that body spoke during the debate.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had introduced the Camp David accords into the Parliament Monday, eight days after he had approved them. Addressing the body just before the final vote, he said, "I call on this chamber, without any difference in party, to unite."

Earlier, Begin had threatened to resign his office should the Cabinet not support his views on the Camp David accords. An informal vote count of that body, however, showed that 40 of its 69 members supported the Prime Minister.


Begin had faced charges from members of the nationalist wing of his own Likud coalition that in signing the accords with Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat, he had betrayed his country and endangered its future security.

Peer Pressure

"I don't believe in you and I don't trust your policies," said Moshe Shamir, a member of the nationalist wing. He accused Begin of collapsing under pressure from Sadat and President Carter at Camp David.

Shamir added that Knesset approval would lead to "a counterfeit peace built on an Israeli surrender."

However, the defection of Begin's supporters in the Knesset was more than offset by the affirmative votes from the leftist parties. Labor Party representatives usually spoke in favor fo the peace accords.

"The achievement is greater than the price," said former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, a member of the Labor Party.

As a result of today's action, 18 Jewish settlements in the Sinai will be evacuated and their approximately 4000 residents relocated. Sadat had made Egyptian approval of the Camp David accords contingent upon this condition.