JERUSALEM, OCT. 24 -- In an unusual gesture of public support for a Palestinian activist, two senior U.S. diplomats today called on Israel to revoke plans to expel an Arab American who advocates nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Morris Draper, the American consul general in Jerusalem, and Arthur Hughes, deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, visited the East Jerusalem office of Mubarak Awad for a 40-minute session to express support for his efforts to remain in the country.

Awad, 44, director of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence, is an American-trained psychologist who has practiced Gandhi-style civil disobedience on the West Bank. He faces several charges in various Israel military courts for nonviolent protests in the occupied area. He also faces a charge of "incitement" in a civilian court here for publishing a pamphlet in which he lists 121 acts of resistance, including the sabotaging of power and water lines, as potentially legitimate tools of protest.

Awad was born and raised in East Jerusalem, the Arab sector annexed by Israel in 1967 after the Six-Day War. After a long residence in the United States, during which he gained American citizenship, he returned to East Jerusalem in 1983.

In August, Israeli authorities revoked the residency permit he has held since 1967 and told him he would have to leave Israel when his tourist visa expires in November. Since he faces a number of criminal charges, he and his lawyer believe his departure would be interpreted by the courts as an attempt to flee justice and would ensure that he would never be allowed to return.

Ehud Gol, spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said Awad's residence permit had been revoked because he was an American citizen and because he advocated and engaged in lawbreaking. "I think it's fair to say that if this were an Israeli citizen who went to the United States and sought to break your laws, whether he claimed to be nonviolent or not, the American authorities would expel him overnight and have every right to do so," said Gol.

Awad said he believed the Israelis were angry about a number of recent projects he had initiated. He has encouraged Palestinian villagers to refuse to sign legal papers in Hebrew, a language few of them understand, and has organized protests involving the planting of olive trees on lands that Palestinians claim and that Israel contends are government-owned.

The authorities are also upset, according to Awad, about a British documentary film on his activities, and about his efforts to organize a committee seeking the reunification of Palestinian families, many of whom have members abroad who are not allowed permanent residency.

Israeli liberals are also involved in that committee -- which held a public protest against Secretary of State George P. Shultz's visit last week -- and the alliance between them and Palestinians is especially upsetting to the authorities, Awad contends.

"I am telling people not to be afraid, that the Jew is a human being even if he has a gun," said Awad. "We have to tell him that we are not going to hurt him physically but that we plan to stay on our land, plant trees and force him to take us to jail. We are not afraid of the consequences of what we believe in."

Awad said he has torn down government fences but does not advocate sabotage of power and water lines at Jewish settlements because such actions might cause harm to children living there. He has often expressed his opposition to terrorist acts and other violence.

Hughes, interviewed at today's meeting, said the embassy had made formal representations to the Israeli authorities on behalf of Awad, basing his case on international conventions that prohibit governments from denying individuals the right to return to their place of birth. He said the authorities were still considering the issue, but "the clock is ticking."

"We're not on a confrontation track with the Israeli government," said Draper. "But he {Awad} has a deadline and we have to consider that. We're simply trying to make it possible for Mr. Awad to remain here. He is a fellow American citizen and we're interested in what is happening to him."

Awad said he has applied to the Interior Ministry for a six-month extension of his tourist visa while he pursues legal efforts to get his residence permit returned. But he expressed pessimism about the likely outcome and said he would ignore any order to leave the country. His effort to remain here has won support from Israeli liberals.