Israeli officials today expressed overall satisfaction with the outcome of Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir's meetings in Washington and predicted that an agreement establishing a "security zone" in southern Lebanon could be reached relatively soon.
The Israeli Cabinet reviewed the results of Shamir's talks with Secretary of State George P. Shultz and other Reagan administration officials today. According to Cabinet Secretary Dan Meridor, the Cabinet concluded that while there are still "some differences" between the United States and Israel these differences "are not essential."
Israeli officials also said the government was grateful for the strong stand the United States has taken against efforts to expel Israel from the United Nations General Assembly and several U.N. agencies.
Schultz announced yesterday that the United States would pull out of the General Assembly and U.N. agencies that excluded Israel and withdraw U.S. funding of the U.N. bodies.
A vote on an Algerian-sponsored motion to expel Israel from the U.N.-affiliated International Telecommunications Union is scheduled for Monday in Nairobi, Kenya, The Associated Press reported.
Shamir, who is to visit Costa Rica this week, may be invited back to Washington before he returns to the Middle East, officials here said. The new meeting would follow talks in Washington between Lebanese President Amin Gemayel and senior administration officials, including President Reagan, during which Gemayel is expected to spell out in detail Lebanon's position on Israel's demand that a "security zone" be established in southern Lebanon as a condition for Israeli withdrawal from the country.
Gemayel will also address the U.N. General Assembly Monday, and he is expected to ask for a continued mandate for the U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which have been stationed in the south, Washington Post correspondent David B. Ottaway reported from Beirut. Shamir said last week in Washington that he objected to a role for UNIFIL.
Following the Israeli Cabinet meeting, a senior official noted that while Shamir was in Washington Israel's proposals for the security zone were being conveyed directly to the Lebanese government in Beirut by David Kimche, the director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
"There is good reason to believe the basics of the Israeli proposals will be acceptable both to the Americans and the Lebanese," the official said.
The officials said that the United States and Israel believe that it is likely to be easier to achieve agreement on the issue of the security zone in southern Lebanon than it is to arrange for the withdrawal of all foreign forces -- Israeli, Syrian and Palestinian -- from Lebanon.
The overall troop withdrawal negotiations still appear to be long and difficult, he said. Israel is demanding establishment of the zone to guarantee that Palestine Liberation Organization guerrillas do not infiltrate back into southern Lebanon, where they would be in position to launch attacks against Israel's northern communities.
The size of the zone sought by Israel reportedly would range from about 25 miles north of the Lebanese-Israeli border near the coast where the terrain is relatively flat, to almost 40 miles in the hills and mountains to the east.
How this zone is to be patrolled, however, remains an open question even after Shamir's talks in Washington.
Israeli officials say that a continued Israeli presence in southern Lebanon need not be required and that patrolling could be accomplished by the Lebanese Army, preferably after Lebanon signs a formal peace treaty with Israel.
A peace treaty with Lebanon remains "a vital objective" of Israel but is not a condition for a complete Israeli troop withdrawal from the country, officials said.
The Israeli officials acknowledged that one remaining difference with the United States centers on former Lebanese Army major Saad Haddad. Israel wants Haddad's Israeli-equipped and supported Christian militia to play a role in the security zone, but neither the United States nor Lebanon is enthusiastic about the idea.
Another difference reportedly is the continued Israeli presence in the Beirut suburb of Baabda, where representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israeli Army maintain offices near Lebanon's presidential palace. Israeli television reported last night that the United States has relayed Lebanese complaints about the continuation of the Baabda operation, but Israeli officials today downplayed the importance of the dispute.
"I don't think the Americans will insist that the operation be closed down," one official said.
After weeks of tension with the United States, the Israeli officials were clearly pleased to be able to speak in positive terms about relations with Washington. They reported "a warm acceptance" by the Reagan administration of Israel's formal offer last week to share the military intelligence it gained during the war in Lebanon.