Israel's parliament will begin debate Monday on the Camp David peace accords and appears ready to approve - perhaps after only one day's debate - terms that would lead to a separate peace treaty with Egypt.
While attention in Washington has focused on Prime Minister Menachem Begin's controversial post-summit claims to sovereignty on the West Bank and differing interpretations of Israeli obligations to freeze West Bank settlements, the separate peace treaty proposals seem to be assured of a substantial majority in the Knesset.
Sources in the prime minister's office said that strategy on the Knesset session will not be decided conclusively until Begin meets with his Cabinet Sunday. But they predicted the debate on President Anwar Sadat's demand for dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the Sinai probably will go into a marathon session Monday and a roll call vote may come early Tuesday morning.
Begin said in an interview in the United States that the Sinai settlements debate would be split from consideration of the rest of the Camp David agreements and may come later. Sadat has said he is willing to start negotiations for the peace treaty only after Israel agrees to take down the settlements, but that once that hurdel is crossed, the pact could be wrapped up in as little as two months.
Some of the prime minister's aides were predicting that 100 of the Knesset's 120 members would ratify the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords even if forced to vote on the settlement question separately. The most conservative estimates gave 89 votes for ratification, more than enough to pass.
Opposition Labor Party members were infuriated that Begain apparently intends to submit the two issues separately, thereby casting responsibility for the demise of the Jewish settlements beyond his own Likud coaliation and onto the opposition as well.
Some have threatened to boycott the debate. But the majority of members say they would rather vote for peace without Sinai settlements rather than have settlements without peace.
If the Knesset acts on the settlement issue on Monday, discussions theoretically could start immediately on sites for the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations and talks could begin soon thereafter for concluding detail so Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai and signing the peace treaty.
The Camp David summit framework established three months as a goal for a separate treaty. But both Begin and Sadat said they would attempt to shorten the period.
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan stressed in a meeting with foreign correspondents yesterday that the Egyptian negotiations, while "symmetrical" with the framework for a comprehensive agreement on the West Bank, are "two different agreements, theoretically, and can be implemented independently."
However, Dayan acknowledged that the Egyptian president would prefer the conclusion of two agreements, "Listening to President Sadat, I really don't think he would like to have a separate peace treaty . . . that would bring him into the position of where he got all the land.
"Although formally, there can be two different treaties, practically, he is looking forward to two agreements and finishing as fast as possible and going on to implementation," Dayan said.
Dayan said he regards Jewish civilian settlement on the West Bank a "full right" that should not stand in the way of a peace treaty with the other Arab nations.
"We think the settlements in the West Bank are legal and do not form an obstacle to a peace agreement or any agreement between us and the Arabs," he said.
Dayan said he expects Jordan, Eygpt and the Palestinians to raise the issue in the West Bank negotiations, but that he believes there will be an agreement.
Oddly, Dayan coupled with the prediction the observation that the Arabs want about 100,000 displaced persons who left the West Bank during the 1967 war to return, "We want to negotiate and agree not to establish refugee camps," Dayan said.
Later, the foreign minister sought to disabuse the reporters of any notion that Israel would like to use the displaced Palestinians as a bargaining chip in exchange for Jewish civilian settlements on the West Bank.
"I mentioned it not a condition," there should "not be any freese on buying land and making Jewish settlements during the five-year period" of Arab autonomy called for in the "framework for peace" signed at the Camp David summit.
"I am not a foreigner in the West Bank and I don't want to be a foreigner and I don't want to be considered a foreigner. If there will be an Arab who is willing to seel a piece of land to me. I feel I should have a full right to buy that piece of land and buy a home there," Dayan said.
Dayan's comments about West Bank Jewish settlement come at a time of increasing sensitivity by President Carter and senior U.S. officials over Begin's remarks about Israel's right to West Bank settlements and Jewish claims to sovereignty to the occupied territory be calls by the biblical names Judea and Samaria.