The United States and other western governments have urged Israel to refrain from retaliatory military action that would increase Middle East tension after the recent Palestinian hang-glider raid in which six Israeli soldiers were killed, according to U.S. and Israeli sources.
The unusual, concerted pressure came partly out of concern that Israel may be planning an attack into Lebanon during the summit here this week between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the sources said.
They said such an attack might be timed to force the superpower leaders to note Israel's strong displeasure with Syria, Moscow's most important Arab ally.
Israeli leaders have publicly blamed Syria for allowing the cross-border attack Nov. 25. They charged that the operation, in which a Palestinian guerrilla landed a hang glider near an army base, was mounted from the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Velley in eastern Lebanon.
In a communique from Damascus, a Syrian-backed group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, asserted responsibility for the raid, in which seven other Israeli soldiers were wounded. It was the bloodiest in nearly a decade.
Soviet officials, academics and reporters here for the summit expressed concern last week that Israel is planning action to embarrass Gorbachev. They said Israel has mobilized about 2,000 troops and appears to be planning a strike into the Bekaa Valley.
A State Department official said yesterday that the United States has seen no "on-the-ground" evidence of Israeli mobilization and expressed doubt Israel would do anything "to ruin the summit," given Reagan's support of Israel.
Israeli officials acknowledged receiving expressions of concern from the United States and several West European governments in recent days, Washington Post foreign correspondent Glenn Frankel reported from Jerusalem.
The officials told Frankel that the pressure would not influence an Israeli decision either to delay or to scrap plans for retaliation. "We listen, and that's all. We don't promise anything, and we don't rule out anything," the officials said.
U.S. and West European diplomatic sources said earlier this week that King Hussein of Jordan has become so concerned about a possible Israeli strike that he called in the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Soviet Union, China, Britain and France -- to urge intervention with Israel.
"Why should the Jordanians be concerned?" said Avi Pazner, media adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. "It's none of their business."
Hussein, who recently hosted a successful Arab summit, was said to be particularly concerned that an Israeli raid might derail progress toward unifying Arabs on an international peace conference.
Pazner said Israel is involved in a longstanding war against terrorism and will strike "if and when we decide to," Frankel reported.
A senior Israeli official told Frankel that one reason Israel has not yet retaliated is that Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias was visiting Israel last week. Israel has been wooing Greece, the only European Community country with which it does not have full diplomatic relations.
Israel did not wish anything to embarrass Greece with its Arab friends during Papoulias' visit, the official said.