Israel's Cabinet "approved in principle" the draft compromise treaty with Egypt yesterday, but tacked on a string of amendments that will have to be negotiated when the Middle East peace talks resume is Washington.
After 17 hours of debate strethcing over three days all but two of the 17 voting members of the Cabinet supported the treaty, but not before Prime Minister Menachem Begin had personally written a number of amendments to satisfy objections to the original language.
In an unexpected move, the Cabinet also voted to summit the final draft of the treaty to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, for ratification. The final document will also have to be approved by the cabinet.
Begin emerged from the marathon Cabinet session at 4:45 p.m. and told reporters that the ministers had given "appropriate guidelines" to Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman for use in continuing the negotiations.
Dayan and Weizman are expected to return to Washington today.
[State Department spokesman George Sherman said the delegations would "resume where they left off" Saturday, when they tentatively approved a treaty text, subject to approval by their governments.]
["There is no drama," Sherman said. "Working out a treaty is a tedious tiring, process."]
[In Cairo, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said that Egypt like Israel, will insist on alterations in the draft.]
[Mansour Hassan, spokesman for Sadat's Nanal Democratic Party, told reporters after a meeting between Sadat and party leaders that the president had not said what changes Egypt is seeking.]
The Israeli Cabinet met as the Defense and Secrutiy Committee, a device that legally shuts off public discussion by any member of the details of the treaty revisions.
It was understood, however, that many of the proposed revisions deal with the question of a linkage between the bilateral Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty and future negotiations on Palestinian self-determination on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
The amendments were said to be an attempt to weaken further the treaty preamble, which addresses the linkage question "politically" rather than in a legally binding fashion.
Dayan last night called the changes "substantial" but noted that Egypt had submitted revisions of its own and that the two delegations would have to work toward a compromise.
One of the persistent sticking points since the Camp. David "framework" agreements were reached last month has been linking the treaty to proposals for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a way that in visible to Sadat's Arab critics but not offensive to Begin's right-wing opposition here.
Sadat has made it clear that he wants to demonstrate that he has not abandoned the Palestinians while Begin has been trying to reassure his critics that the Egyptian treaty is not a prelude to Israel's lops of soverelgnity in the West Bank.
The Cabinet vote yesterday was 15 to 0, with two abstentions - Energy Minister Yitzhak Modai and Health Minister Eliezer Shostak.
But Cabinet sources said that such a clear majority was not assured as recently as Tuesday night, when as many as eight ministers appeared ready to vote against the draft, most of them on the basis of the linkage question.
In addition to Shostak and Modal, Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, minister with portfolo Chaim Landau, Education Minister Zevulun Hammer, Justice Minister Shmuel Tamir, Interior Minister Yosef Burg and Religious Affairs Minister Aharon ABu-Hatzeira reportedly were considering "no" votes.
Cabinet sources said that Begin, fearful that a 9-8 vote would lead to a Cabinet crisis and collapse of the peace talks, worked on a number of revisions overnight in an effort to meet the ministers' objections.
After the session, Tamir told reporters, I am satisfied with the government decision as accepted finally. I am satisfied because I raised a number of points I considered to be very important . . . points I believe Egypt can accept place in Washington."
Begin surprised some observers by announcing that the final draft treaty that emerges from the Washington talks will be presented to the full Knesset.
There is nothing in Israeli law that requires parliament to endorse international treaties, and on the surface it would appear that the prime minister is risking days of unnessessary vituperative debate much like that which marked Knesset approval of the Camp David "framework" and dismanting of Jewish settlements in the Sinoi Desert.
By spreading responsibility throughout the Knesset, however, Begia could force fence-sitters to his side because the Cabinet is required by law to follow the decisions of the parliament.
If the Knesset rejected the final draft, or approved it by a slim margin, it would be tantamount to a vote of no confidence, and could create a government crisis leading to resignation, which few in the parliament want at this moment.
In the absence of some unforeseen treaty seems assured of solid approval in the Knesset, but probably not by the 4-to-1 margin given last month to the Camp David framework.
Politically more important to Begin is to obtain a solid majority in his Likud bloc.
Five members of the traditionalist La'am faction of Likud bloc demanded yesterday that Shostak resign from the government if the Cabinet approved the draft treaty, and also demanded that La'am Knesset member Zalman Shoval resign his salaried Foreign Ministry post.
Shoval, who is head of a foreign information advsory committee, replied that he was appointed by Begin and not the La'am party> and said he would wait until the Washington talks are over before doing anything.
In addition to the treaty linkage problem, the other points of contention among the opponents were said to be when and how Israel and Egypt will normalize relations, and whether the United States will cover the cost - estimated at $4 billion - of relocating military and civilian outposts now is the Sinai.
Government sources said that Begin plans to send President Carter a message today explaining the Cabinet's decision fully.