The Israeli team investigating the Temple Mount killings said Friday that police opened fire in self-defense but severely criticized police commanders for ignoring advance signs of trouble at the holy site.

The three-member commission said Palestinians provoked the riot, but that police showed virtually no sensitivity to the Temple Mount as a holy place for Jews and for Moslems, who call it Haram es-Sharif.Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir named the commission two days after the rioting on Oct. 8 to examine what led to the confrontation, which began after Arabs stoned Jews praying at the Western Wall, below the Temple Mount.

Police said at the time that 19 Palestinians were killed and more than 140 wounded in Israeli gunfire, but Friday's report said 20 were killed and 53 Palestinians were injured seriously enough to be hospitalized.

The massacre prompted two U.N. Security Council resolutions, both of which brought the United States into conflict with Israel, its closest ally in the Middle East.

The United States was the chief sponsor of a resolution approved Oct. 12 by the Council that condemned Israel for the shooting deaths of the Palestinians on the Temple Mount and called for a U.N. investigation.

The United States voted against Israel again on Wednesday for refusing to admit U.N. investigators.

Israel had said its internal investigation will be adequate.

The investigative commission said police had prior reports of the possibility of riots on the Temple Mount. It said police commanders failed to recognize passions aroused by the 34-month-old Palestinian uprising, Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, and "the inflammatory calls" of Moslem clerics a week earlier to block a rumored march to the Mount by Jewish zealots.

The commission's report criticized the top police echelon for being absent even when it became obvious a dangerous situation was brewing.

The report was also at odds with earlier investigations by both Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups over the question of whether live fire by police was justified.

More than 750 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops and civilians in the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.