The PLO's executive committee Tuesday rejected a reported Israeli plan to grant limited autonomy to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and allow them to elect their own representatives.

The 15-member ruling body of the Palestine Liberation Organization called the idea a "new maneuver aimed at diverting world attention away from Palestinian peace overtures."On Monday, the Israeli daily Maariv said Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir planned to propose an Egyptian role in getting negotiations started between Israel and a joint delegation of Palestinians and representatives from Jordan.

The aim of such talks would be to reach an interim agreement for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza, the newspaper said.

The PLO comments came in a statement issued Tuesday, a day after the executive committee ended a three-day meeting in Baghdad, Iraq. Text of the statement was made available to news agencies in Nicosia.

The PLO statement said that Palestinians will not endorse any settlement that falls short of the establishment of an independent state to co-exist with Israel.

It cautioned world public opinion "against falling for the latest Israeli trick," and stressed: "Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories which must be placed under United Nations supervision for an interim, transitional period.

"As for the latest election farce, the Palestinians have already chosen their representatives - the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians."

The PLO has repeatedly rejected the idea of limited autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

The PLO statement Tuesday saluted the 90 countries it said have recognized the independent Palestinian state proclaimed Nov. 15 by the Palestine National Council, the group's parliament-in-exile.