Israel on Sunday again delayed a fact-finding mission into Israel's assault on the Jenin refugee camp, but U.N. chief Kofi Annan hoped Israel would reverse its decision Monday.

After a hastily called U.N. Security Council meeting to consider the latest delay, members strongly supported Annan's efforts to immediately send the team with full cooperation of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

U.N. Undersecretary-General Kieran Prendergast told the Security Council meeting late Sunday that the Israeli Cabinet would meet on the matter Monday.

In its meeting Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet "approved Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's statement that conditions have yet to be created whereby [the] fact-finding committee may be received." The Cabinet statement concluded, "Israel awaits additional clarifications."

At the end of the seven-hour Cabinet meeting, Israel's Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin accused the United Nations of reneging on agreements with Israel. The fact-finding team's composition and intentions, he said, made it inevitable that Israel would be unjustly blamed.

"This awful United Nations committee is out to get us and is likely to smear Israel and to force us to do things which Israel is not prepared even to hear about, such as interrogating soldiers and officers who took part in the fighting," he said.

Israel gave a green light to a fact-finding mission on April 19, with Peres saying the country had "nothing to hide." But after Annan announced the members of the team three days later, Israel asked for a delay to seek changes in its composition and mandate.

Prendergast said the secretary-general hoped "that the Israeli Cabinet will take a positive decision tomorrow morning. His priority is to get the fact-finding team on the ground as soon as possible." However, no special Cabinet session was officially scheduled for Monday.

President Bush had little to say on Israel's decision Sunday not to allow the U.N. fact-finding team to visit the Jenin refugee camp to determine what happened during Israel's military assault there earlier this month. Arab nations have accused Israel of a massacre of civilians in the West Bank camp. "That's being worked out at the U.N.," Bush said.

The United States and other countries urged the Security Council on Sunday to give U.N. officials and the Israeli government time to reach agreement on the fact-finding mission.

"I think we ought to give them a chance to work this out with the United Nations," U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte told reporters as he headed into the closed council meeting.

Syria has introduced a draft Security Council resolution on behalf of Arab nations demanding that Israel and the Palestinians cooperate fully with the fact-finding team "without any hindrance or conditions."

Arab nations were meeting to decide whether to press for a vote or delay action until after Monday's Israeli Cabinet meeting.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres called Annan on Sunday to say Israel wanted another delay in the arrival of the team, Israel's deputy U.N. ambassador Aaron Jacob said.

The three-member team, which has been meeting in Geneva, had been scheduled to arrive in Israel on Saturday.

Israel gave a green light to a fact-finding mission on April 19, with Peres saying the country had "nothing to hide." But after Annan announced the members of the team three days later, Israel asked for a delay to seek changes in its composition and mandate.

Teams members are former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari; Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and Sadako Ogata, former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Palestinians accuse the Israeli army of a massacre of civilians during eight days of fighting, which left part of the Jenin camp in rubble. Israel says its army fought intense gunbattles with Palestinian gunmen, who were the main victims, stressing that 26 suicide bombers came from Jenin.

Israel insists that the fact-finding group include more military and counter-terrorism experts, that it investigate Palestinian terrorism in the Jenin camp as well as the military incursion, that the probe be limited to Jenin, and that both sides agree on a framework for the team's activities.

Israel also wanted to ensure that the team just finds out the facts and doesn't draw any conclusions, said Israel's Ambassador to Ireland Mark Sofer, who is acting as a government spokesman in Jerusalem. Diplomats said Israel is concerned that any conclusions could be used in possible legal action against its soldiers.

The United Nations has agreed to add two additional military experts and two police experts to the team.

At the end of Friday's talks led by Prendergast, Annan agreed to delay the delegation's arrival until Sunday night. He cited the Jewish Sabbath, which ends at sundown Saturday, and the Israeli Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning.