Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin said today that Israel will never sign a peace treaty "rendered void" by U.S.-supported Egyptian amendments or one that is linked to any "target date" for implementation of autonomy for Palestinians on the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip.
Begin spoke at a debate in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on the state of the Middle East peace negotiations. Following the debate the parliament voted 66-to-6, with 27 abstentions, in favor of a resolution declaring that the proposed Egyptian amendments to the treaty preclude, for now, the signing of a peace treaty.
The resolution also criticized the U.S. position as "one-sided" and declared that it does not "further the continuation of the peace process."
Begin told the parliament:
"We must be prepared, with all the friendship between ourselves and the United States...to reject Egyptian proposals that endanger our nation's wellbeing even if they are supported by the United States.
"Until the U.S. administration sees its mistake that the state of Israel is indeed an important factor in the free world, and that it must not be weakened, it must be continually strengthened."
Begin, reiterating arguments he presented to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance during Vance's trip here last week, said the December 1979 Target date" for Palestinian autonomy sought by Egypt "not only will be of no benefit, on the contrary it will be very harmful because as that date approaches there will be intensified intimidation, and we want to carry out what we have undertaken."
The debate, initiated largely as a rhetorical exercise and without any legislative purpose, resulted in an unusual display of unity among Israel's normally fractious parties in support of the government's refection of new Egyptian amendments to the compromise draft treaty approved by the Israeli Cabinet on Nov. 21.
So far, no significant party in the parliament has challenged the Begin Cabinet's refection of the Egyptian proposals.
Shimon peres, leader of the opposition Labor allignment, said, "There is only one Israel, united. One Israel that rejects such pressures. We shall voice our opinion, but on no condition are we ready to weaken the authority of the Cabinet to negotiate."
"We shall not raise our hand against the government," Peres added, while rejecting the Begin-supported Palestinian autonomy plan as a "line of obstacles replete with landmines everywhere."
Labor members abstained in the voting.
The most vocal opposition today came from Meir Wiliner, a member of the Democratic Front (Communist) party, whlo challenged Begin's assertion that Palestinians so far have refused to put forward either candidates or voters for the proposed self-governing authority on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Begin implied this was because of intimidation by the Palestine Liberation Organization and Jordanian officials.
"It is not because of intimidation. It is because you want the occupation to continue, and under occupation there are no free elections," Willner said.
Begin replied: "Mr. Willner, I want no occupation. The land of Israel is our land, but I would like you to take a look at a map of Eastern Europe and you will see how many occupations the Soviet Union has carried out, and it is holding onto them this very day."
(In Cairo, the Associated press reported, meanwhile, an Egyptian diplomat said he expects the United States to begin another high-level effort early in January to break the impasse in the Israeli-Egyptian talks. He said he expects Washington to develop a proposal that probably will be carried to Cairo and Tel Aviv by Vance in a l be carried to Cairo and Tel Aviv by Vance in a new round of shuttle diplomacy.)