September 25, 1978 – Pitching The Knesset – The Camp David Accords Debate
September 25, 1978 – With the echoes of the Camp David Accords ceremony between Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat still ringing in everyone’s heads, the process of accepting and adopting and debating began.
At the Knesset, the protests were loud and long, leading at least one member, Geula Cohen to be ejected from the proceedings. The peace settlement came with caveats and concessions, and not everyone was happy about it. Begin told members of the Knesset they were faced with a painful decision and that the Camp David Accords were the path to peace and the needed to be approved. He was interrupted constantly by right-wing members of his own Likud Party, who were opposed to the removal of Israeli settlements on the Sinai and to the freeze on West Bank settlements. But despite that, Prime Minister Begin asked the Knesset to recognize this step towards peace as a great moment which could lead to the signing of a peace treaty with Egypt within two or three months. When the Knesset was scheduled to resume in a few days, it was anticipated to almost surely approve the Accords, clearing the way for conclusive Peace talks with Egypt.
There was also diplomatic wrangling, going on this day – Secretary of State Cyrus Vance arrived back in the U.S. after a 6,000 mile flight from Saudi Arabia with a stopover in Syria and finally arriving back in Washington in the middle of the night. His mission produced no dramatic surprises. He encountered a resistant Middle-East so far as selling the Camp David Accords. Jordan remained skeptical but also wanted to remain on the fence. Syria remained bitterly opposed after Vance spent a surprisingly long time talking to Assad; five hours as opposed to the almost two hours allotted. But after all that time, it was obvious no ones mind had changed. As for Saudi Arabia – the Saudis still felt the accords fell far short of what they would like. But there was a feeling too that the Saudis, without making a public proclamation, felt the accords needed at least a starting chance.
And that’s where it was on this day – a lot more news from a lot more places, but this was the big news of this day, September 25, 1978 as reported by The CBS World New Roundup.