With the last of the political hurdles cleared by the Israeli parliament's overwhelming endorsement early yesterday of the Camp David peace accords, the pace of diplomatic maneuvering toward signing a separate peace treaty with Egypt has already begun to quicken.
Defense Ministry officials said yesterday that a team of Israeli communications specialists will probably leave today for Cairo to set up a communications network between Egypt and Israel, the first such link since the Israeli military delegation was expelled from Egypt in July.
The technical team reportedly had been standing by to leave shortly after the Knesset recessed at 4 a.m. yesterday, but was held over. A Defense Ministry spokesman said the Egyptians had "expressed a readiness to accept us anytime now."
Until the telephone and cable link has been re-established. Foreign Ministry officials said, Israel will continue to make contact with Egypt through the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Restoring communications could take less than a day, Israeli officials said, and once that is accomplished the two sides will begin working out a schedule for a meeting in Cairo between Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman and Egyptian War Minister Mohammed Abdul Ghani Gamassi.
Matters still to be resolved include details of the demilitarization of the Sinai and makeup of the policing forces as well as establishment of air and sea routes and exchange of ambassadors.
Special envoy Alfred Atherton was here yesterday and was scheduled to meet today with Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan to help set up the Cairo talks. Atherton plans to travel to Cairo later in the day.
Weizman is not expected to leave for Egypt until after the Yom Kippur holiday Oct. 10-11, but a defense source said that if the Egyptians ask to advance the date. Weizman could go after the Rosh Hashanah holiday ends Monday.
Israeli's Cabinet will meet Sunday to decide the makeup of the delegation, which Begin is said to be thinking of enlarging to include Cabinet ministers outside of his Likud Party.
Israeli government officials said the delegation will probably include Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, representing the Democratic Movement Party, and Interior Minister Josef Burg, from the National Religious Party. Both voted with Begin to approve the Camp David peace agreements and the removal of Jewish civilian settlements from the Sinai Peninsula.
Dayan is expected to head the delegation with Weizman.
[In political fallout from the Knesset vote, Yigal Horowitz, minister of commerce, industry and tourism, resigned to protest, the decision of accept dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the Sinai as part of the peace deal with Egypt, Reuter reported.]
[Horowitz was one of 17 Knesset members who abstained from the vote on the accords. Nineteen voted against and 84 voted for.]
The purpose of the Cairo meeting is to establish the site and agenda for the joint Israeli-Egyptian peace talks that presumably will complete details left unresolved in the Camp David framework for peace and lead to the signing of the first peace treaty between the two countries since the founding of Israel 30 years ago.
Foreign Ministry officials said they did not know where the peace talks will be held, but Egypt's acting foreign minister, Boutros Ghali, said in Cairo yesterday that they will be held either in El Arish in the northern Sinai, or in Ismailia, on the Suez Canal.
How long it would take to conclude a treaty is anybody's guess, but Begin yesterday mentioned two months in several statements during and after the Knesset debate. The Camp David accords call for three months of talks but Begin has suggested shortening the period by a month.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials have mentioned Nov. 19, the anniversary of Sadat's visit here last year, as a starting date.
Among the unresolved details to be worked out are:
The precise terms and a schedule for demilitarization of the Sinai.
Deployment of an early warning system, and the numbers, locations and types of electronic sensors to be set up.
The format of the U.N. force and civil police detail that are provided in the agreement, as well as border patrols.
Defining the exact line between El Arish in the north and Ras Muhammed in the south, to which Israeli forces will withdraw between three and nine months after the signing.
A schedule for Israel's withdrawal from two Sinai air bases, and a decision on whether Israel will be able to use the Etzion base near Eilat for civilian traffic.
Construction of a road on Israeli territory linking the Senai to Jordan, which is provided in the agreement.
Establishing air traffic lanes between Egypt and Israel, as well as customs controls, shipping routes, exchange of embassies and other details of normalizing relations between the two countries.
The negotiators also will have to put into motion the resolution of compensation claims by both sides stemming from the 1967 and 1973 wars.
Israel can be expected to put in claims not only for war damages in those conflicts, but for compensation to the approximately 45,000 Jews who fled Egypt and left property behind. Israel may also seek compensation for enormous investments in the Sinai, including oil fields and massive development of such areas as Sharm el Sheikh.
For its part, Egypt could offset those losses with claims not only for war damages, but also for the oil that Israel has pumped out of the Sinai since 1967. Currently, Israel gets about 15 percent of its oil supply from the region.
Government sources said that while those larger issues probably will not be resolved before the signing of a peace treaty, at least a committee will be formed to continue talks.
Within Israel, there are also broad economic implications of peace that are being studied by a special ministerial committee.
Finance Ministry officials have long been concerned that an inflationary spiral could result from peace. With the propect of a sudden end to hostilities, their worries have intensified.
One of the first problems being studied by a special committee of directors-general of the ministries of defense, finance, housing and transportation is what will happen when their air bases are removed from the Sinai and rebuilt in the Negev desert with U.S. funds.
While the move certainly fulfills David Ben-Gurion's dream of populating the Negev, it presents huge challenges to the Israeli government to build large towns around the air bases, with roads, water electricity and other services.
While the United States has agreed to pay for the construction of air-fields. Israel has not sorted out how it will build the service communities on an already strained budget.