Former Israeli foreign minister Moshe Dayan said tonight he will introduce a bill in parliament that would prevent Israel from withdrawing from the last third of the Sinai without parliamentary approval of a multinational peacekeeping force to be set up by the United States.
Dayan, in an interview on the Israeli Army radio, said the multinational force that former president Jimmy Carter promised to establish in the Sinai is an integral part of the Camp David peace accords, which also required approval by the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
"We must tell the Americans and the Egyptians, 'No agreement or no withdrawal,'" Dayan said.
Israel still occupies a section of the Sinai east of a line stretching from El Arish on the Mediterranean Sea to Ras Mohammed on the Red Sea, which includes Israeli settlements in the Rafiah Salient approaches to the Gaza Strip and along the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty calls for Israel to relinquish the remainder of the peninsula, which was captured in the 1967 war, by the end of March 1982.
The March 1979 peace treaty also calls for an international peacekeeping force to patrol the area once the Israeli forces complete their withdrawal. The United States sought to turn the responsibility over to the United Nations, but scrapped that idea when the Soviet Union threatened to veto it in the Security Council.
In an accompanying letter to the treaty, Carter said he would attempt to form a multinational force for the Sinai, but he did not specify its size or composition, or whether it would include U.S. troops. However, there has been no rush of nations to enlist in the force, since joining could present problems for countries that import oil from Arab states opposing the Camp David accords.
Dayan said tonight the eastern part of the Sinai is so strategically important to Israel that it is necessary to find out in advance of complete withdrawal what countries will contribute troops to the force.
Political observers here suggested that Dayan's proposal to condition withdrawal upon Knesset approval of the multinational force is likely to gain considerable support from the ruling Likud coalition of Prime Minister Menachem Begin and from the opposition Labor Party. They noted that there has been dissatisfaction with the lack of progress in negotiations for a comprehensive peace and limited autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza.
In addition, many Knesset members have become irritated at recent statements by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt reiterating his proposal for a Palestinian provisional government in exile, including not only West Bank and Gaza leaders but also officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
For his part, Begin has hinted that Israel may condition its final Sinai withdrawal on approval of a peacekeeping force, but has avoided making an outright threat.