Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron called on Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. yesterday and left "optimistic" amid growing indications that the U.S. suspension of military aircraft deliveries to Israel will be lifted soon.
Following a 45-minute meeting with Haig, Evron said he is "optimistic that the issue will be resolved early next week." He said he had not been asked by Haig for any assurances about the use of the F16 and F15 warplanes that have been held up and that "I don't think anything is expected of us."
Evron said he had told Haig that "we feel very strongly that the suspension should never have taken place."
Rep. Paul Findley (R-Ill.), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement saying he is convinced President Reagan will lift the suspension "in a matter of days and will do so without gaining any assurance that Israel will abide by U.S. law in using such equipment."
Findley, who has often been critical of Israeli policies, said release of the aircraft under these circumstances "will put a severe new strain on U.S. relations with all Arab states" because of an Arab perception that Israeli air strikes in Lebanon "will be tolerated by the U.S., and perhaps had our tacit approval."
State Department spokesman Alan Romberg said of the aircraft suspension: "The president expects to make the decision early next week."
A congressional source who asked anonymity said the executive branch has decided to release the planes.
The delivery to Israel of four F16 warplanes was held up June 10 following an Israeli air raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. Six more F16s were withheld July 17 following Israel's bombing raid on Beirut, in which several hundred civilians were killed.
Two additional shipments of military planes -- two F15 jets scheduled for delivery yesterday and four F16s that were to go today -- are also being held up, making a total of 16 aircraft.
Haig is expected to discuss this and other matters at a National Security Council meeting in California Monday. President Reagan, who is vacationing there, will participate.