The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed informally last night on a resolution drafted by the United States that condemns Israel for the killing of 19 Arabs in Monday's clash on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and calls for a United Nations fact-finding mission, administration officials said.

The resolution, condemning the violence "and particularly the excessive Israeli response," was under discussion by other nations last night and U.S. officials said it could come before the full Security Council as soon as Wednesday. It marked the first time since 1982 that the United States has supported a resolution condemning Israel, officials said.

The resolution calls on all parties to refrain from violence and, in a gesture to Israel, expresses regret that Jewish worshipers were also attacked in the melee at the Western Wall, officials said.

Earlier in the day, President Bush told reporters that Israel should have been "better prepared" to deal with Monday's clash. In New York, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations said he was disappointed that the United States had joined in criticism of Israel in what he called an attempt to hold together the U.S.-led multinational force in the Persian Gulf.

The resolution was drafted after a day of intense negotiations in which the United States at first sought to limit the U.N. response to a statement by the president of the Security Council. Under pressure from Arab and other nations, the United States later allowed the condemnation to be placed in a resolution, which carries more weight, officials said.

At the same time, however, American diplomats said they averted more objectionable resolutions being proposed by Arab and other countries. One such proposal, opposed by the United States and Israel, would have established a three-member commission to travel to Jerusalem to examine the situation and report back to the Security Council.

Instead, the draft resolution calls for a fact-finding mission to be appointed by and report back to Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, similar to the procedure used in May following the slaying of seven Palestinians by a deranged Israeli civilian in a suburb outside Tel Aviv. Talks on a possible compromise version were continuing last night.

The highly unusual decision by the Bush administration to support the resolution may further strain relations with Israel, already tested by the Persian Gulf buildup and the stalled efforts to start talks between Israel and Palestinians.

Senior U.S. officials said a major factor in the decision to support the resolution is the need to preserve Arab support for the multinational force lined up against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf. The officials said a U.S. veto of a resolution condemning Israel could have threatened the coalition and thus aided Saddam, who has repeatedly tried to link any negotiations on the fate of Kuwait following Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion to a resolution of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

In his White House news conference, Bush deplored "this needless loss of life" in Jerusalem and insisted that Saddam should not use "this unfortunate incident" to tie the Persian Gulf crisis to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. "There's no relationship there," Bush said. "The logic falls totally flat."

"Saddam Hussein is trying to, from the very beginning, justify the illegal invasion of Kuwait by trying to tie it in to the Palestine question," Bush said. "And that is not working. The Arab world is united -- almost united -- against him."

Bush also said, "Israeli security forces need to be better prepared for such situations, need to act with greater restraint, particularly when it comes to the use of deadly force."

Administration officials said the last time the United States voted to condemn Israel was after its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and its bombing of an Iraqi nuclear research reactor in 1981. The United States has frequently vetoed anti-Israel resolutions on grounds that they were one-sided.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Johanan Bein, said the draft resolution showed that "again, Israel is the sacrificial lamb on the altar of something greater we are all striving for and that is combat against aggression in the gulf."

"It's not important, it's not going to solve anything, it's just a lip service in order to achieve another goal," he said. "I don't think it helps to achieve peace and tranquility in the area. I think {it} will give the impression the Security Council stands behind those who instigated those disturbances, that is, the PLO and some other elements in Jerusalem who prepared this cold-bloodedly."

Bein said he would be "very sorry" if the United States voted against Israel, adding, "I think the U.S. has a goal, and that is to maintain this coalition . . . against the aggression of Saddam Hussein in the gulf, and to achieve that goal they think some principles can be sacrificed."

The U.S. decision to support the resolution followed a morning telephone call between Baker and British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, officials said. The British are in the Security Council chair this month. Also, Bush met yesterday with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud Faisal, and according to the White House discussed the violence in Jerusalem and the gulf crisis.

The White House said "they also shared their concern over Iraq's brutal behavior against Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people," and Bush, in his news conference, said his patience is "wearing very thin on that account."

Special correspondent Trevor Rowe contributed to this report from the United Nations.