Prime Minister Menachem Begin today received a mandate from his Cabinet to limit his coming talks with President Carter to proposals specifically included in the Camp David peace agreement. This apparently will enable him to sidestep such volatile issues as Jewish settlements in the occupied Arab territories and voting rights of East Jerusalem Arabs. i
Begin is scheduled to leave Israel for Washington Sunday for talks with Carter aimed at injecting momentum into the moribound negotiations on proposed autonomy for the 1.2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. a
After a closed-door strategy discussion on the Washington meetings, the Cabinet instructed Begin, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Interior Minister Yosef Burg to discuss with Carter the proposed autonomy plan "in accordance with the Camp David agreement."
Cabinet Secretary Aryeh Naor later stressed that "some matters are specifically excluded from the agreement," and, therefore, are to be excluded from Begin's talks with Carter.
Naor refused to be drawn by reporters into a discussion of topics Begin is not empowered to discuss with Carter, and he insisted that the Cabinet was not setting any conditions under which Begin will meet with Carter.
But it was clear from Naor's comments and from other government sources that Begin's intention is to narrow the range of topics as much as possible and to avoid debate on the major unresolved issues that are not spelled out in the Camp David accords.
Chief among these are settlements and whether 100,000 Arab residents of East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after it captured the Jordanian-administered territory in the 1967 war, will be permitted to vote in the proposed election of an autonomous self-governing Palestinian council.
With many of the tangential issues of the election already resolved, such as the mechanics of balloting and eligibility of voters in that part of the West Bank that has not been annexed, East Jerusalem has emerged as one of the most difficult items on the table.