A Jordanian spokesman said today his government found "some positive points" in President Reagan's plan for an Arab-Israeli settlement as a cautiously favorable response appeared to take shape in other Arab capitals.
The Jordanian spokesman said an official response will be issued on Reagan's proposal, which calls for Palestinian self-rule in association with Jordan, after consulting with the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Arab states.
The comments, in reports from Amman monitored here, came as newspapers reflecting government views in Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait went even further in signaling that Reagan's plan was meeting a favorable reception among moderate Arab states.
In Beirut, a prominent Arab editor called the plan "a breath of fresh air" that is the most significant move in 11 years to solve the Palestinian problem.
The editor, an independent Palestinian who asked not to be identified, said Reagan's proposals made Wednesday night were "absolutely more hopeful" than former president Carter's Camp David solution. "It is the first time in 11 years that you have an administration that says Israel must abandon the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he said, in a reference to an unsuccessful initiative in 1970-71 by former U.S. secretary of state William P. Rogers.
The positive assessment, coupled with the immediate Israeli government rejection of the plan, is bound to bolster the stature of the administration among moderate Arab countries.
The Jordanian newspaper Al Ra'i today said, "The American president spoke a new language, which opens a new era for a just peace. . . . This implies a more balanced U.S. policy in the area." It added that there were "some negative points that call for clarification in dialogue."
In Cairo, where criticism of the United States had escalated sharply, the newspaper Al Akhbar called the plan "courageous" and "an important turning point," which it compared with former president Eisenhower's successful demand that Israel withdraw from the Sinai desert after the 1956 Middle East war.
The Reagan plan, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas said, "is more advanced and gives more regard to considerations of balance than that of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter." Wire services quoted a high Kuwaiti official as saying the proposals were "a positive American step in principle."
The PLO has given a cautious welcome to the plan pending a meeting of the leadership scheduled for Saturday in Tunis. Chairman Yasser Arafat arrived there today from Athens to set up provisional PLO headquarters.
In Athens, Greek government and PLO sources said that before his departure Arafat met with a representative of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the foreign ministers of Jordan and Tunisia, Washington Post special correspondent Andriana Ierodiaconou reported.
Reports from Riyadh said Saudi Arabian newspapers and radio commentaries called for serious consideration of the proposals by the Arab summit scheduled to convene Monday in Fez, Morocco.
Most radical governments have maintained silence so far, and a high Syrian government official said the plan was "still being studied." Syria's Damascus Radio said Reagan's diplomacy supports Israel and is therefore unacceptable. Two radical Palestinian factions rejected the plan.
One analyst here speculated that Israel may have made a mistake in its quick rejection because that made it easier for Arab governments to approach Reagan's efforts positively.
The anticipated negative attitude of Syria is a potential stumbling block, especially if it fears that an overall settlement could be reached without Israel having to return Syria's Golan Heights. Damascus is able to exert pressure on the PLO because of the many Palestinian guerrillas who withdrew to that country from Lebanon.
"The basic point in the Reagan plan is that it takes the West Bank and Gaza out of Israeli hands," said the Palestinian editor. "What they do after that is up to the Arabs," an implication that Jordanian control could be temporary, a fear that Israel has expressed.
The editor concluded: "All this boils down to a crucial point: Is the Reagan administration willing to back up its word [by pressuring Israel to accept the plan]?"