Regardless of one's position concerning an international conference on the Middle East, it is obvious that the subject is one that generates a good deal of debate. In fact, no one should know this better than the editors of The Post, who have published a number of editorials on the subject over the past six months. Some of these editorials have been critical of the idea, while others have been cautiously supportive. Nonetheless, no one would label The Post anti-peace simply because it has raised questions about an international conference.

It is a bit incongruous, therefore, for The Post to distort the honest differences of opinion in Israel on this issue in a strangely organized editorial {" 'Active in Peace with Israel,' " Sept. 27}. In it, The Post goes so far as to intimate that Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is a virtual enemy of peace, while portraying Saudi Arabia as "eager, even desperate" to support an international conference.

What rationale could have led The Post to draw such a conclusion? Is it the fact that Shamir does not support the conference, the results of which are, according to The Post itself, "necessarily a matter of doubt and speculation"?

What The Post fails to mention is that while the entire body politic of Israel is engaged in a sincere and emotional debate over the pros and cons of the various formats intended to lead to an Arab-Israeli peace, we have not seen or heard anything similar from any Saudi leader. While in Israel the question is whether to pursue a regional or an international conference, Saudi Arabia has yet to indicate that it has, at long last, accepted Israel's right to exist and is prepared to negotiate with it. Mr. Shamir has time and again called on Israel's Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, to join the peace process, either through face-to-face negotiations with Israel or through a regional peace conference.

For this reason, Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres, in his Sept. 29 address to the U.N. General Assembly, stressed that "Israel is united in its search for peace, in our desire to negotiate directly with our neighbors. We differ over how best to move the process forward. An international conference raises opposition in some Israeli quarters, while others see it as an opening."

Under these circumstances, it is to Israel's credit that both sides of this crucial debate receive airing and representation in its government. Debate, after all, is what democracy is all about, and there should be nothing strange about that. Certainly, if The Post is allowed the freedom to weigh both sides of the issue in its editorials, the government of Israel should be allowed to do the same in its own deliberations on the subject.

Despite their differences on the issue of an international conference, there exists, in Israel, a consensus of opinion regarding a host of issues.

We all agree that peace can only be attained through direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Arab states.

We strongly believe that any such negotiation must be based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338.

We have repeatedly expressed our eagerness to seek peace with Jordan, and agree that the Palestinians should be represented in the process.

Likewise, there is agreement on the question of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a country that has maintained a state of war with Israel for almost 40 years and continues to support and finance the PLO.

Israel neither tries to conceal nor is ashamed of the divergence of views within its leadership on a question of such vital importance to its existence and its future.

Yossi Gal The writer is press counselor for the Embassy of Israel.