JERUSALEM, FEB. 15 -- Israel today emphasized its view that an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait that left President Saddam Hussein in power would be unacceptable, and welcomed President Bush's suggestion that Saddam should be overthrown.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and other senior officials dismissed Iraq's announcement of its willingness to withdraw from Kuwait as a ploy, though they said it showed that Iraqi resistance to the U.S.-led coalition was weakening.

"To our regret, we now see there will be no quick solution to this problem," Avi Pazner, a senior adviser to Shamir, said at a press conference this evening. "The conditions Saddam has put make the situation as difficult as before." He added: "I don't think there is any danger now of anyone taking seriously these proposals."

Pazner repeated Israeli arguments that the Persian Gulf War should not end until Iraq's military machine is destroyed and Saddam is removed from power, even if the Iraqi army is withdrawn from Kuwait. As long as he {Saddam} is there, the Middle East will not know a day of real peace," he said.

The Israeli spokesman said Shamir's government was gratified by President Bush's statement, which seemed to outline a U.S. intention to oust Saddam more explicitly than ever before. "I think there is a deepening understanding, especially in the United States, . . . that a man like that can only mean trouble for the future," Pazner said.

Israel's greatest concern throughout the gulf crisis has been that the United States and its allies would agree to a settlement that would leave Saddam in power with all or part of his military machine intact. Israeli leaders fear such an outcome could involve linkage between Iraq's occupation of Kuwait and Israel's occupation of Arab territory, and would eventually result in a new Middle East war in which Israel might have to face Iraq alone.

Until now, officials here said, Israel has been unable to obtain any clear assurance from the Bush administration that the objective of ending Saddam's rule would be pursued. During the visit here last month of Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Shamir was told only that the United States would not allow a return to the status quo in Iraq before Aug. 2, the day Iraq invaded Kuwait, an informed source said.

Pazner said tonight the government now felt that "there is not a danger of Israel facing alone the danger of Iraq," and added, "I think the coalition against Saddam Hussein is very firm."

Before Baghdad's announcement, Israeli military officials said the Iraqi army in Kuwait was weakening but had not yet begun to break. In a briefing Thursday for military journalists, army intelligence chief Gen. Amnon Shahak said "the collapse of the Iraqi army is not in sight."

According to an official account made available today to Western journalists, Shahak added that "in terms of time, a collapse could take place suddenly." He said "more than several hundred" Iraqi soldiers had deserted their positions in Kuwait by fleeing northward, toward Iraq.

Shahak offered lower estimates of the amount of Iraqi armor destroyed than those released Thursday by the U.S. military command. He said that by Israel's count, about 800 Iraqi tanks had been destroyed and that the number of damaged artillery pieces and mortars numbered in the hundreds. U.S. officials put the number of destroyed tanks at 1,300, and the number of artillery pieces at over 1,000.