Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir met with President Bush for almost two hours yesterday and said afterward he was reassured that the United States will not try to settle the Persian Gulf crisis on terms harmful to Israel.

"I trust the president," Shamir told reporters. "He has said it several times, and he said it to me now again, that there will not be any deal at the expense of Israel."

U.S. and Israeli officials, who briefed reporters on the talks, gave the impression that Bush and Shamir had avoided detailed discussion of many issues that have caused friction in U.S.-Israeli relations and had confined themselves instead to a broad, general review of matters, such as opposition to Iraq's aggression, on which they agree.

In a step that could accelerate Israel's movement toward better relations with the Soviet Union, Shamir also will meet here with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, U.S. and Israeli sources said. Shevardnadze and Secretary of State James A. Baker III returned here from Houston last night after two days of talks, and the sources said the Shevardnadze-Shamir meeting tentatively is planned for tonight.

During the past year, Moscow has all but eliminated barriers to emigration by Soviet Jews, and that has eased relations between the two countries, even as it triggered a flood of immigrants to Israel that Shamir said could exceed 1 million people in the next four years.

The Soviets have held out the prospect of resuming diplomatic relations with Israel that were broken after the 1967 Middle East war, but they have made the offer contingent on Israel's agreement to a Mideast peace conference that would attempt to settle the status of Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Shamir's government, which believes the West Bank and Gaza Strip should become part of Israel, has rejected that idea.

Since Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, the Israelis have become increasingly concerned about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's attempts to link withdrawal from Kuwait to creation of a Palestinian state in the territories. The United States is holding off a vote in the U.N. Security Council on a Palestinian-rights resolution in hopes of changing a reference to the possibility of a Mideast peace conference so as to make clear that there is no linkage between the Palestinian and Kuwait issues.

Senior Israeli officials also have warned several times -- most recently in a speech by Shamir in New York Monday night -- that any resolution of the gulf crisis allowing Saddam to retain his military power would pose a continuing danger to Israel and the entire Middle East.

These issues had increased the already severe strains in U.S.-Israeli relations, and sources said both Shamir and Bush had decided before yesterday's meeting to try to smooth over some of the tensions.

Bush set the tone by telling Shamir on his arrival: "I want to give a warm welcome to the prime minister, and I'm delighted he is here."

Afterward, Shamir added: "I think there is a full convergence of views about the {Iraqi} problem. There are no differences at all."

John H. Kelly, assistant secretary of state for Mideast affairs, and Avi Pazner, an adviser to Shamir, agreed later that the session had been what Kelly called "a friendly and good exchange of views." Kelly also said "there was no ducking of the tough issues," but he stressed that the problems between Israel and the United States were discussed only "in general terms."

U.S. and Israeli sources said Dennis Ross, director of the State Department's policy planning staff and the administration's chief expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict, will visit Israel next week. "It will be an opportunity to talk about the peace process, but we all know that we cannot do great things right now," Pazner said.

In their accounts of the White House meeting, both Pazner and Kelly gave the impression that the two leaders had avoided going beyond the gulf situation to discuss bilateral disputes. Kelly acknowledged that there was no discussion of the killing of 17 Palestinians by Israeli security forces during a riot in Jerusalem on Oct. 8, nor of subsequent U.S. disapproval of Israel's persistence in rejecting a Security Council resolution calling for an investigation by an emissary of the U.N. secretary general.

"The flow of the conversation didn't go that way," Kelly said in response to repeated questions about why Bush did not broach the subject. His refusal to elaborate appeared related to continuing Security Council negotiations on a Palestinian-rights resolution.

Israel vehemently opposes the proposed resolution as interference in its affairs, but Kelly said Shamir did not explicitly ask Bush for a U.S. veto. Kelly also said the United States still does not know what position it will take on the resolution.

Both Kelly and Pazner said Shamir had told Bush that the cost of resettling Soviet Jewish immigrants could mount to $40 billion and that the Jewish state will need help in absorbing that. They added, however, that Shamir made no specific request for additional U.S. aid at this time and that Bush, while expressing sympathy for Israel's problem, had made no offers.