JERUSALEM, JUNE 14 -- Israeli officials said today that Secretary of State James A. Baker III had misinterpreted a statement by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir when he criticized Shamir's new right-wing administration in testimony before Congress on Wednesday.

Baker, apparently reacting to excerpts from an interview with Shamir published in The Jerusalem Post, suggested that the Israeli leader had created new preconditions for Israeli-Palestinian talks and pointedly invited his government to call the White House "when you are serious about peace."

Israeli officials insisted today, however, that Shamir had placed no new conditions on an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and that his remarks had been misinterpreted by The Jerusalem Post and Baker. They said Shamir had yet to formulate his new administration's next steps in the peace process and reproached the Bush administration for not communicating directly with Jerusalem.

"This is all based on a misunderstanding," said Avi Pazner, a senior adviser to Shamir. "There are no new conditions. If we had been contacted by the United States, we could have explained that."

Baker's reference to possible new Israeli preconditions for negotiations came at the end of a lengthy statement expressing broad U.S. concerns about the new government's apparent unreadiness to make compromises necessary to open an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

In a front-page article Wednesday, the English-language Post quoted Shamir as saying in reference to proposals for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that "there's nothing to discuss with those among the Palestinian Arab circles who are opposed to autonomy," or self-rule by Arabs in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"I want them {the United States} to understand our intentions, and I want to make it clear that a dialogue between Israel and Arab representatives of {the West Bank} and Gaza cannot succeed without prior agreement between the parties that the goal is to advance within the framework of Camp David, that is, autonomy," the Post quoted Shamir as saying.

The Post interpreted Shamir's statement to mean that he was placing new conditions on Israeli-Palestinian talks by demanding that Palestinians participating in them first state their agreement with the goal of self-rule, as opposed to an independent Palestinian state, which Palestinians now demand. It also suggested that Shamir would insist that Arab states open bilateral peace talks with Israel as a complement to any Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

However, that interpretation was promptly denied Wednesday by Pazner and other aides to Shamir. They said Shamir was merely reiterating Israel's position that Israeli-Palestinian talks should occur within the framework of a several-stage peace process based on the 1979 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt. The accords spell out Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories as an interim solution.

Baker's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian talks was intended to advance an Israeli plan to hold elections in the territories for Palestinian representatives who would negotiate autonomy with Israel. Shamir has resisted the Baker plan because it allows the Palestine Liberation Organization an indirect role in the process and because of a dispute over whether Palestinians from East Jerusalem would be included.

Several diplomatic experts said here today that nothing in the Shamir statement quoted by the Post clearly diverged from understandings that Israel, the United States and Egypt had arrived at in preliminary negotiations with Baker last year. Baker's original plan for the talks stipulated that "Palestinians will come to the dialogue prepared to discuss elections and negotiations in accordance with Israel's initiative."

However, one expert on U.S.-Israeli relations, Dore Gold of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, said Shamir's latest statement was ambiguous and might indicate the beginning of an attempt by Israel to renegotiate some of the terms it has already agreed to for Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The Post also quoted Shamir as saying, "It is impossible to conceive that we could reach any sort of serious understandings between us and the Palestinian sector without further understanding and progress in the relations between Israel and the Arab states."

Pazner denied that this meant Israel would not open talks with Palestinians unless Arab states agreed to its call for bilateral peace negotiations.