Israel today emphatically ruled out any possibility of dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization even if it did recognize the Jewish state's right to exist and said the PLO had to "disappear" politically and militarily from the Middle East.
The government statement made clear that its attitude toward the question of negotiating with the PLO was significantly different from that of the United States, which has demanded only that the Palestinian organization "clearly and unequivocally" recognize Israel before it would consider opening a dialogue with it.
In another development, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon disclosed that the Cabinet at a secret meeting last Thursday decided upon a new tactic of responding to violations of the cease-fire by PLO guerrillas bottled up in West Beirut.
Sharon called it "static fire" and indicated that this meant Israel would fire from fixed positions without moving troops or armor forward and use its aircraft for pinpoint bombing of Palestinian targets there. Today, Israeli warplanes bombed Palestinian positions on the southern outskirts of West Beirut for the fifth straight day. Story on Page A10.
A government spokesman insisted that the key issue remained the removal of the Palestinian guerrillas from Lebanon, apparently reflecting concern that the focus of the Beirut negotiations might be shifting to the question of a possible PLO-U.S. dialogue. Sudan today offered a haven to the PLO. Details on Page A10.
The spokesman dismissed reports of a basic change in PLO policy toward Israel as nothing but a "propaganda ploy" and "a public-relations gimmick" designed to fool U.S. public opinion.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Avi Pazner ridiculed the notion that PLO leader Yasser Arafat, by signing the piece of paper shown to reporters yesterday by Rep. Paul McCloskey (R-Calif.) in West Beirut, had changed the PLO's basic policy toward Israel.
He said Arafat's reported acceptance of various U.N. resolutions affirming the existence of the Jewish state was of "no help" and only indicated the degree of his "despair."
"The burning problem today," he insisted, "is that we want the PLO to leave Beirut and Lebanon . . . . We are going to continue to work to get them out."
Pazner said if the Palestinians really want to change policy, "they have to repudiate the Palestinian National Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. They would have to cease to exist as a terrorist organization."
Pressed as to whether Israel would deal with the PLO if it explicitly acknowledged Israel's right to exist and gave up terrorism, Pazner said it would not do so even then "under any circumstances."
"We want to see them [the PLO] disappear as a political organization . . . . They must first leave Beirut and Lebanon and then disappear politically," he said.
Pazner said he doubted that Israel would consider holding talks with Arafat if he agreed to meet U.S. conditions.
Last week, officials were even more explicit on Israel's total rejection of dealing with the PLO or bringing it into any future talks on Palestinian autonomy.
"Whatever we will do or will happen we will not include the PLO in these negotiations," one official said. "Under no circumstances will we negotiate with the PLO."
There have been signs of mounting concern here that the whole focus of the stalled negotiations is changing from the question of when the PLO will leave Beirut as the mission of U.S. negotiator Philip C. Habib drags on with no solution to the crisis in sight.
Habib, who was in London today to meet with King Hussein of Jordan, is expected back here Tuesday, when he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Israeli officials are upset that the debate has widened to include such larger issues as what the United States might do for the Palestinians in return for their agreement to leave and what the conditions would be for an opening of talks between the PLO and Washington.
Israeli officials say they still believe the Reagan administration is "firm" and "faithful" in its refusal to recognize or deal with the PLO. But they have no answer to the question of what will happen if the Palestinians do clearly accept Israel's existence.
Instead of accepting a simple declaration confirming Israel's right to exist, Israeli officials are insisting that the PLO must repudiate its charter. This could not be done without a meeting of the enlarged Palestinian National Council--a virtual impossibility in the present circumstances.
The Palestinian charter states that Palestine is a single entity, an "indivisible territorial unit," and that the partition of it in 1947 and the creation of Israel were "entirely illegal." It also denies that Jews constitute "a single nation with an identity of its own" and condemns Zionism as a "racist" movement.
Meanwhile, McCloskey and six other congressmen arrived here from Beirut tonight. They are scheduled to meet with Begin and other top Israeli officials Tuesday before traveling on to Egypt.
Pazner called McCloskey's press conference with Arafat in Beirut yesterday a "public relations gimmick."
[Begin increased his majority in the 120-member parliament from 61 to 64 when all three members of the ultranationalist Renaissance Party joined the government, the Associated Press reported from Tel Aviv.]