U.N. Security Council members, meeting behind closed doors, failed to agree tonight on a resolution censuring Israel for proclaiming Jerusalem to be its "undivided, eternal capital."

An expected open meeting to begin debate on the question did not take place. Delegates said they must have further talks. A demand by the Palestine Liberation Organization that the council consider a call by Islamic states for sanctions against Israel, rather than a Western European resolution of censure that omitted mention of any embargo, was said to have been one reason for the new delay.

After delegates emerged from their private meeting, Donald McHenry, the chief U.S. delegate, said he thought the Western European text would pass, but that one member was without instructions on how to vote.

The Europeans' resolution would censure "in the strongest terms, the enactment by Israel of the basic law on Jerusalem, and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions."

It would further determine that the law was null and void and "must be rescinded forthwith," have the council affirm that the Israeli action was a serious obstruction to the achievement of a Middle East peace settlement, call on all states to respect the council's decisions and call on those with diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw them.