A newly formed armed group calling itself the Palestinian National Guard but led by an outspoken foe of the Palestine Liberation Organization has emerged in the refugee camps near here, apparently with the blessing of the occupying Israeli Army.

Western diplomats, high Lebanese officials and intelligence sources in Beirut say that the pistols and Soviet-designed Kalashnikov assault rifles the Palestinians carry were given to them by the Israelis.

Israeli sources deny that they provided the weapons, but they acknowledge that the Israeli Army has recently begun to permit selected Palestinians to bear arms in the refugee camps.

"Those who do, carry them for self-defense after they convince us there is an actual danger to their lives," said an Israeli source. "If they carry guns in the open, they won't risk using them."

Asked whether this new policy contradicted the stated purpose of the Peace for Galilee operation, as Israel calls its invasion--ridding Lebanon of the armed Palestinian presence--the Israeli said: "It was not to disarm Palestinians. It was to disarm the PLO."

Lebanese officials say they have passed word to the Israelis that they are aware of the arming of the Palestinians, although the Lebanese acknowledge that they are powerless to do anything about it so long as Israel occupies southern Lebanon.

The new move is only the latest in a string of Israeli projects to form militias in southern Lebanon. They have created several Shiite Moslem militias, armed the Lebanese Forces Christian militia, which has units here; promoted former Lebanese Army major Saad Haddad, whose forces they have armed and equipped for five years, and are reportedly now attempting to form a Sunni Moslem militia here in Sidon.

On occasion, some of these Israeli-backed militias have had shooting sprees among themselves, raising the suspicion among diplomats and Lebanese officials that Israel's policy is to divide and conquer.

Westerners here and high-ranking Lebanese are perplexed by the Israeli move and ask whether it is aimed at putting pressure on the Lebanese to negotiate troop withdrawal on Israel's terms, is an indication they do not intend to leave or is an effort to create forces they can manipulate after they withdraw.

The head of the new Palestinian National Guard is a refugee in his thirties named Abdullah Nasser who drives around the Ayn Hulwah refugee camp near here in a Renault with a Kalashnikov at his feet.

Nasser says he has about 100 active members in his National Guard. Other refugees in Ayn Hulwah say they suspect he has fewer than 50.

Nasser talks freely about his relations with the Israeli Army here, saying in an interview Wednesday that he has turned over PLO agents to them, has worked with Israeli officers to get cement, food and medical supplies to Ayn Hulwah and other camps in southern Lebanon and has helped arrange for the release of eight Palestinian prisoners at the Israeli-controlled Ansar prison camp in southern Lebanon.

Israeli sources emphatically deny that Nasser has helped arrange the release of any prisoners. They say he has no official connection with the Israeli Army, although they acknowledge that he frequently comes to their military headquarters here on matters affecting the refugee camps.

The formation of Nasser's guard was announced by him at a press conference Sunday. He said the force had been formed to "maintain security in the camps against any foreign or armed presence aimed at subversion and return to acts of violence."

"The Palestinian people in Lebanon in general and in the south in particular, are not represented by the PLO but by themselves," he said. "The Palestinian National Guard speaks in the name of Palestinians and expresses their viewpoint, just as the head of the village leagues on the West Bank, Mustafa Doudin, represents the Palestinians" there.

The village leagues were formed on the West Bank under Israeli sponsorship in 1979 to create a platform for moderate Palestinians and, ultimately, to serve as an alternate political structure to the nationalist city mayors who favor an independent Palestinian state there.

Nasser praised Haddad, who heads a militia allied with Israel, and he lauded the Lebanese Forces Christian militia, who were suspected by many Palestinians here of having led a campaign of harassment, intimidation and killings in late January and February aimed at driving Palestinians out of the suburbs here and back into the refugee camps.

Palestinians and international relief workers also give credit to the Israelis, who have increased patrols during the past week and established checkpoints to guard Palestinians inside and outside the camps. The moves came after strong pressure from the International Committee of the Red Cross and U.N. refugee workers after at least 12 Palestinians were killed and an estimated 150 Palestinian familes were driven from their homes.

Nasser insisted in the interview that his group has no weapons. He said the rifle in his car that was spotted by a driver accompanying two reporters belonged to an aide who is a businessman and who carries it to ward off thieves.

However, several Palestinians in the camps said the men have on occasion moved openly through Ayn Hulwah with pistols and Kalashnikovs.

Nasser, who grew up in Ayn Hulwah and is well known there, said he lived for a while in West Germany and later spent time in PLO prisons in Lebanon--put there, he said, because he was an outspoken critic of the PLO in Germany. He said he escaped last June when a shell hit the prison and he and others scattered. the Palestinians" there.

The village leagues were formed on the West Bank under Israeli sponsorship in 1979 to create a platform for moderate Palestinians and, ultimately, to serve as an alternate political structure to the nationalist city mayors who favor an independent Palestinian state there.

Nasser praised Haddad, who heads a militia allied with Israel, and he lauded the Lebanese Forces Christian militia, who were suspected by many Palestinians here of having led a campaign of harassment, intimidation and killings in late January and February aimed at driving Palestinians out of the suburbs here and back into the refugee camps.

Palestinians and international relief workers also give credit to the Israelis, who have increased patrols during the past week and established checkpoints to guard Palestinians inside and outside the camps. The moves came after strong pressure from the International Committee of the Red Cross and U.N. refugee workers after at least 12 Palestinians were killed and an estimated 150 Palestinian familes were driven from their homes.

Nasser insisted in the interview that his group has no weapons. He said the rifle in his car that was spotted by a driver accompanying two reporters belonged to an aide who is a businessman and who carries it to ward off thieves.

However, several Palestinians in the camps said the men have on occasion moved openly through Ayn Hulwah with pistols and Kalashnikovs.

Nasser, who grew up in Ayn Hulwah and is well known there, said he lived for a while in West Germany and later spent time in PLO prisons in Lebanon--put there, he said, because he was an outspoken critic of the PLO in Germany. He said he escaped last June when a shell hit the prison and he and others scattered.