Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon today ruled out Arab and Palestinian proposals for the temporary evacuation of the guerrillas trapped in West Beirut to northern Lebanon as a way of breaking the impasse over finding a permanent new home for them.
His statement appeared to dash hopes of some progress in the stalled negotiations following President Reagan's meeting with the foreign ministers of Syria and Saudi Arabia yesterday.
At the same time, senior officials here reacted sharply to reports that the Palestine Liberation Organization was ready to recognize Israel in return for the opening of a direct dialogue with the United States.
If the United States moved toward the PLO "in any way," said one official, "we would feel cheated. The United States and the PLO would be responsible for what happened in Lebanon," he warned.
"If we see any attempt to change the main issue of the discussions, then we will not give them one minute," he said, apparently hinting that this could trigger an Israeli decision to go ahead with an assault on West Beirut to crush the guerrillas.
Another senior official dismissed reports that the PLO was ready to grant recognition to Israel as simply a public relations gambit of no real significance.
"We do not believe the PLO can change its terrorist raison d'etre," he said. "They are playing for time and public opinion in the United States." He added, "Under no circumstances will we negotiate with the PLO."
He said he did not think the Reagan administration was about to change U.S. policy of not recognizing or dealing directly with the PLO.
Tonight, Prime Minister Menachem Begin was given a lengthy briefing by U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis on President Reagan's meeting with Saudi Prince Saud Faisal and Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Khaddam.
Immediately afterward, he gave a speech to 150 visiting American leaders of the United Jewish Appeal. He gave no hint of his reaction to what he had heard from Lewis or what Israel intends to do next, except to assure his audience that "none of them the guerrillas " would be allowed to stay in Beirut.
He also assured them Israel wanted to keep the "friendship and cooperation" of the United States, possibly a hint that he is still willing to go along with American efforts to arrange a peaceful evacuation of the guerrillas, if not the proposal outlined after the Reagan meeting with the Saudi and Syrian foreign ministers.
The plan was reported to call for the evacuation of the guerrillas to northern Lebanon as the first stage in a complete withdrawal from Lebanon and the sending of the PLO leadership out of the country until a permanent home for their men could be found in other Arab countries.
The PLO leadership made a similar proposal late last week to special U.S. negotiator Philip C. Habib through Lebanese intermediaries and it appears the Arab plan is simply a restatement of it with the additional suggestion that the guerrilla leaders quit Lebanon altogether.
In an interview in the newspaper Maariv today, Begin predicted it might still take "two to three more weeks" to resolve the crisis over the guerrillas' departure.
Earlier, in a breakfast address to the same group, Sharon had said, "We are not going to go again through these arrangements of interim agreements or separation of troops as we had after the 1973 Yom Kippur war."
Sharon, the chief architect of the Israeli operation into Lebanon to crush the PLO militarily and politically, said Israel was still seeking a negotiated settlement. At the same time, he seemed to be putting Washington on notice that it will not go along with the plan reportedly submitted to President Reagan yesterday for an interim solution.
Israeli peace advocate Uri Avneri, meanwhile, told a press conference here today that the PLO initiative to gain U.S. recognition had actually begun before Israel's invasion of Lebanon. He also said that former secretary of state Alexander M. Haig Jr. had given a commitment that the United States would respond positively to it.
Avneri argued that on the basis of separate interviews with guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat and one of his top aides, Khalid Hassan, he was convinced the PLO was ready to meet all three conditions.
"They are ready for mutual recognition based on a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and to give assurances that terrorism will be stopped the minute political neogitations start between Israel and the PLO," he said.
Avneri has created a major controversy in government circles by traveling to Wast Beirut to see Arafat earlier this month. He has just returned from New York where he saw Hassan.
Avneri said the PLO peace initiative toward the United States actually began before the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon June 6 and that former secretary of state Haig was "personally involved and interested in getting a dialogue going."
The key person assigned by PLO leader Arafat to draw up a formula acceptable to the United States was Issam Sartawi, he said.
Sartawi visited Tunis in early April and discussed the PLO plan with President Habib Bourguiba. He, in turn, had instructed Prime Minister Mahmoud Mzali to bring up the matter with Haig during the latter's visit to Washington in late April.
Avneri said it had been arranged that Sartawi, on June 14, would read the statement that he finally gave in Paris a week ago. In that declaration, Sartawi said, "the PLO has formally conceded to Israel in the most unequivocal manner the right to exist on a reciprocal basis."
Once the United States gave some indication that Sartawi's statement would lead to a direct dialogue with the PLO, Arafat was to confirm the Sartawi statement as official policy, Avneri said.
Arafat would not agree to give his confirmation before the United States signaled it was ready to talk with the PLO because "it would mean he was giving away his last major trump card," Avneri said.
"What they understood from Mzali," he said, "was that Haig had given a commitment to begin a dialogue once the statement was made on June 14."
Haig could not be reached for comment on Avneri's assertions.
Asked tonight why Arafat had not confirmed Sartawi's July 13 declaration, Avneri said it was because he got an indication from Washington that it would not now agree to direct dealings, presumably because of difficulties in getting Israel to delay its threatened assault on West Beirut.