Special envoy Philip C. Habib was summoned here yesterday as the Reagan administration prepared a new drive to break a stalemate in Israeli-Lebanese negotiations, and thus clear the way for a broader settlement in the Mideast.
State Department sources said growing U.S. concern about lack of progress in the week-old negotiations prompted the decision to call Habib back from a Florida vacation for policy-making meetings.
The sources said it is likely that Habib will fly to the Middle East within a few days in an effort to break the deadlock.
It took the active intercession of Habib and his deputy, Ambassador Morris Draper, to set up the Israeli-Lebanese talks that began a week ago yesterday. The main objective, in the U.S. view, is to arrange the basis for a prompt departure of Israeli forces from Lebanon.
Israel's central objectives, however, are to win a form of normalized relations with Lebanon and to create a demilitarized security zone near the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Lebanese negotiators so far have refused to place normalization of relations with Israel on the negotiating agenda, because of concern that such arrangements with the Jewish state would imperil Lebanese relations with Arab nations.
Administration officials expressed the fear that Israeli-Lebanese negotiations could drag on for many months unless a quick breakthrough can be made. And it is increasingly evident that President Reagan's plan for a broader Palestinian settlement is unlikely to get off the ground before there is progress toward Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.
Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat announced yesterday that he will confer later this week with Jordan's King Hussein, who is a key figure in Reagan's plans for settling the Palestinian issue. Some reports from the Middle East said the Palestinian National Council, the political policy-making body for the PLO, is to meet Jan. 14.
When and if there is a meeting of minds between Hussein and Arafat about the king's role in negotiating for the Palestinians, it is considered likely that the Jordanian monarch will return to Washington to see Reagan, whom he met on the regional peace issue just before Christmas.
Hussein is expected to ask for U.S. assurances on several key points, including a halt to Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, before he agrees to take part in broad talks.
No accord by Hussein and Arafat has yet been reached, nor is any return trip by Hussein to Washington scheduled.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is expected here for talks on regional Middle East diplomacy and other issues Jan. 27. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin is expected some time after that, perhaps in February.
Israeli President Yitzhak Navon arrived yesterday for a four-day official visit, including a meeting with Reagan scheduled for today.
Navon is a member of the liberal wing of the Labor Party, which Begin ousted from power in 1977 in taking over the Israeli government, and thus is not in a position to deal with Washington officialdom on behalf of Begin. In fact, some political analysts in Israel forecast that Navon may lead the Labor Party against Begin in the next general election campaign.
The U.S. administration is seeking to avoid any impression that it is seeking to work out Lebanese-related issues with Navon instead of dealing with the Begin government. For this reason, Habib is expected to steer clear of Navon here, although the Israeli was met on arrival at Andrews Air Base by Secretary of State George P. Shultz.