JERUSALEM, JAN. 4 -- A high-ranking British government official, touring the Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip where a clash nearly four weeks ago touched off an unprecedented wave of violence across the Israeli-occupied territories, described conditions there today as an "affront to civilized values" and later got into an angry exchange with an Israeli Army officer.

Both the comments by British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs David Mellor and the confrontation were extraordinary in the normally understated world of international diplomacy, and they clearly annoyed Israeli officials.

"It is certainly not a usual thing to do, when you visit . . . a certain area and then push your nose in something that's not your damned business," said an Israeli government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The confrontation occurred when Mellor learned from a resident of the camp that the Army had detained the man's 14-year-old son as the British official toured nearby.

Mellor, who was described by accompanying British journalists as enraged, strode up to the nearest Israeli officer, a colonel, and objected that nothing had happened that merited an arrest.

"Colonel," Mellor snapped as the television cameras rolled, "I think you should look at this again. This is not good. This is not good at all."

Earlier, Mellor had remarked after inspecting the Jabaliya refugee camp's muddy streets, open sewers and overcrowded conditions: "Well, conditions here, I think, are an affront to civilized values. It is appalling that a few miles up the coast there is prosperity, and here there is misery on a scale that rivals anything anywhere in the world."

Mellor added that "something has got to be done" and said Israel "cannot duck its responsibilities" to Gaza's Palestinians.

The British diplomat's tour of the camp was officially considered part of the private portion of his four-day visit to Israel and the occupied territories that had been planned before the outbreak of what has been termed the most widespread disturbances in the occupied territories since Israeli troops captured them in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Later today, Mellor met with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as the first item on his formal program. An Israeli official who was present at the meeting said Peres, who had been busy in other meetings all day, apparently had not been informed of Mellor's earlier remarks and that the subject did not come up during what the official described as a general review of the situation in the territories and the region.

However, the Israeli official added, Mellor's actions are expected to be raised Tuesday when the British official meets with Yossi Beilin, political director general of the Foreign Ministry.

Israeli sources who were familiar with the Gaza events were particularly annoyed at Mellor's approach to the Army officer.

"It's not his business to go to an officer there and tell him what to do," said one, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We got the impression that this was done more for the cameras and the press that was there."

Jabaliya, home to about 50,000 Palestinian refugees, was the site of a clash Dec. 9 in which Israeli troops shot Hatem Sissi, 17, to death and wounded several other camp residents. Sissi was to be the first of 23 fatalities of Army gunfire in the following days. The latest victim was a 25-year-old woman from Ram, a West Bank Arab village just outside Jerusalem, who was killed yesterday.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the shooting violated Army regulations, and both the soldier who killed the woman and his commanding officer have been suspended pending further checking.

The village was the site of violent demonstrations today. The Army said its soldiers did not fire live ammunition. A spokeswoman said troops allowed protesters to burn tires, throw stones and chant Palestinian slogans for about 90 minutes before they fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the gathering.

{No injuries were reported in the violence at Ram, The Associated Press said.}

There were several other scattered disturbances today, but a heavy rain helped to keep the still tense situation under control.

The Army imposed curfews on refugee camps at Tulkarm and Qalqiliya, and there were also demonstrations reported in Ramallah and Bir Zeit, north of Jerusalem. There were partial commercial strikes in virtually every town on the West Bank and in parts of the Gaza Strip.

A large part of the Jabaliya camp was also under curfew for the third straight day.

The Army said it had released 54 detainees today, bringing to nearly 240 the number freed since Saturday. The releases were meant as an incentive for West Bank and Gaza Strip residents to restore calm to the areas.

Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups, meanwhile, protested the government's announcement yesterday that it intends to deport nine Palestinians accused of "incitement and subversive activity on behalf of the terrorist organizations." Two Zionist groups, Oz Veshalom and Netivot Shalom, said that "no government has the moral right to expel a person from his homeland."