The General Assembly prepared Friday to move to Geneva in mid-December to debate the Palestine question after the United States rebuffed a U.N. bid to hear PLO chairman Yasser Ara-fat in New York.

Well before a midnight Thursday deadline for its response to an Assembly appeal, the United States informed Secretary General Ja-vier Perez de Cuellar that Secretary of State George Shultz would not reconsider his decision to deny Arafat a visa.A new resolution would sanction Assembly meetings in Geneva on the Palestine question "in the present compelling circumstances and without prejudice to normal practice during the period of Dec. 13-15, 1988."

According to a draft text circulating late Thursday, the resolution would deplore the U.S. failure to relent and affirm the unrestricted right of people with U.N. business to enter the United States.

It will be the first time since the headquarters was set up in Manhattan that the Assembly has met away from New York.

Because moving the Assembly for even a few days would add a new expense for the hard-up United Nations, the vote on the resolution will await financial committees' careful scrutiny of costs, according to spokeswoman Nadia Younes. A senior official said a published estimate of $100,000-$200,000 was low. One source mentioned $500,000 for the Geneva move.