CAIRO, JAN. 21 -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Palestinians and Israelis today to halt all acts of violence against each other for six months to clear the way for a new effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

Terming the current disturbances in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank territories "an alarm that cannot be ignored," Mubarak said in an interview that he would launch "a new peace initiative" that would eventually lead to direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors if the six-month cooling-off period takes effect.

Mubarak unveiled his attempt to gain what would in effect be a cease-fire that would cover Palestinian guerrilla operations and rock-throwing demonstrations as well as Israeli military retaliation as he prepared to begin a 10-day trip to Western Europe and to the United States, where he will meet President Reagan next week.

The Egyptian leader, embarrassed by the revelations of secret U.S. arms shipments to Iran and by what Cairo perceived as a sharp tilt by the Reagan administration toward Israel in its policies, has not visited Washington since September 1985. He said today that his visit next week is a sign that the scars from the Iran affair "are fading."

Speaking in confident and clear English throughout the 50-minute interview conducted at his new presidential office compound in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, Mubarak projected a new sense of authority and ease with the job he inherited six years ago when Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Moslem fundamentalists.

Mubarak, who returned last weekend from his first major tour of Arab states in the Persian Gulf, also made these points:Egypt is prepared to help Kuwait, which has been hit by Iranian Silkworm missiles, improve its air defense system. But he ruled out sending Egyptian combat units to the gulf, saying that the gulf states "do not need ground forces; they do not want any kind of escalation" of the Iran-Iraq war.He will urge Reagan to engage the United States as "a full partner" in new Middle East diplomatic efforts despite the widely held view that the outgoing administration can accomplish little in the time left to it. "As the strongest nation on earth, the United States cannot make its own elections the most important issue so as not to have time to move the peace process," Mubarak contended.He will once again appeal to Reagan to forgive at least part of the $4.5 billion Egypt owes the United States for arms purchases made since the 1979 U.S.-sponsored peace treaty with Israel. Mubarak described the latest U.S. proposal to break the deadlock over this issue by shifting the debt to commercial banks as a "trick" and "a trap that I will not fall into."The proposed Egyptian-U.S. coproduction of the M1 tank in Egypt is "a very good symbol of cooperation" needed to balance "the U.S. making so many arms in Israel." Taking note of controversy in the United States over the proposal, Mubarak asked: "Why should anyone oppose this one thing in Egypt?"He maintains confidence in, and a private dialogue with, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who accepts the idea of an international conference. "But I do not understand {Prime Minister Yitzhak} Shamir," he said. "Why is he so afraid of an international conference?"

Mubarak, 59, a former Air Force commander chosen by Sadat as his vice president in 1975, conferred with Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, King Hussein of Jordan and Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, last week while working on the five-point peace initiative that he said would be announced in Egypt on Friday.

His formulation of the initiative today appeared intended to build a consensus among Arab rulers and PLO factions that are prepared to negotiate with Israel and to dramatize the view that the wave of revolt that has swept the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the past six weeks has underlined an urgent need for an end to the occupation that began with Israel's victories in the June 1967 war.

In the wake of the disturbances, Shamir has proposed reopening the autonomy talks for the occupied territories that are called for in the second part of the Camp David peace agreement. But Mubarak sharply rejected this idea today, making clear his view that events have overtaken the terms set by the 1979 accord for resolving the Palestinian problem.

In his initiative, Mubarak said, he will urge the Palestinians to stop all violent acts against Israelis in return for agreement by Israel to halt new Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, to move toward an international peace conference and to "respect and strictly observe the political rights and freedoms of the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza" over the next six months. His proposal also would guarantee the protection of all inhabitants of the occupied territories.

"I know that not everybody will agree to all of this at first and that I will be criticized," Mubarak said. "But we cannot sit by with our hands folded when the alarm is ringing. Perhaps this proposal can turn the wheel of the peace process."

Shamir has rejected a peace conference under U.N. auspices and argues that only direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan can lead to peace. Mubarak used today's interview to put new public emphasis on his belief that an international conference would be a ceremonial prelude to direct negotiations.

"If the Israelis want direct negotiations, I'm telling them, an international conference will start and the negotiations will be bilateral," he said, gesturing emphatically with his right hand and leaning forward in his arm chair. Egypt and the United States would be available "to help if there is a problem," but would not attempt to impose any solution, he asserted.

He offered no specific details on how the problem of Palestinian representation at such a conference would be resolved, and declined to say if he thought the proposed formation of a Palestinian government in exile by the PLO would help in the search for peace. "It will take months and months, it will take a long time," he said of the proposal, which Arafat has said is under consideration.

On the Persian Gulf conflict, Mubarak said that Egypt's decision to send military advisers, civilian labor and weapons to Iraq would not necessarily be repeated in the smaller gulf states that he visited last week.

"Each of these countries has its own characteristics, each has its own way of dealing with the tensions with Iran. Some of them have their connections with the Iranians. . . . I don't think these countries need foreign forces there on their land. All they need is air defense and some ships to defend them. . . . We have experience in air defense from the 1973 war and the war of attrition between 1967 and 1973. If our experience is needed, we are going to help them."

Asked if Kuwait had requested such help, Mubarak said: "No comment." Diplomatic sources said Egyptian air defense experts are currently installing radar-guided antiaircraft batteries in Kuwait.

Mubarak's trip to the gulf provided a symbolic ending to Egypt's diplomatic isolation in the Arab world. He seeks to complete the impression of Egypt reemerging on the world scene with new authority through a successful visit to Washington.

But he said that such success now depends on resolving differences over the outstanding debt on military sales and over the plans for Egypt to assemble and eventually manufacture the M1A1 Abrams, the United States' top-of-the-line main battle tank.

"This military debt is actually a political obligation by the United States," Mubarak said, asserting that Washington had provided the arms on credit because arming Egypt was in America's strategic interest. "We can't pay all this debt. We need at least partial forgiveness. Otherwise it will weaken our economy, and America needs Egypt as a strong friend."

He called a rescheduling of Egypt's debts through the Paris club of creditors last November "a temporary relief" but said the burden still hangs over the country's future. He emphatically rejected a U.S. proposal to shift the debt permanently into lower-interest loans held by commercial banks and indicated that Egypt had a better chance of getting debt relief through the existing government-to-government loans.

Despite his concern about the outstanding military debt, Mubarak said he was confident that the proposed manufacturing of the M1 tank here would not create new economic problems for Egypt.

Egyptian officials have said that as many as 1,000 to 1,500 M1s will be produced at a giant factory under construction north of Cairo.