Israel’s United Nations ambassador has called on secretary-general Antonio Guterres to retract his condemnation of the country’s excessive use of force in the military operation that targeted a refugee camp in the West Bank.

But a UN spokesperson said on Friday the secretary-general “stands by those views”.

Mr Guterres, angered by the impact of the Israeli airstrikes and attack on the Jenin refugee camp, said the operation left more than 100 civilians injured, uprooted thousands of residents, damaged schools and hospitals, and disrupted water and electricity networks.

He also criticised Israel for preventing the injured from getting medical care and humanitarian workers from reaching everyone in need.

Israel PalestiniansPalestinians walk by a damaged house in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, (Nasser Nasser, AP)

Israel’s two-day offensive, designed to crack down on Palestinian militants, destroyed the Jenin camp’s narrow roads and alleyways, forced thousands of people to flee their homes and killed 12 Palestinians. One Israeli soldier also was killed.

Mr Guterres said: “I strongly condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror.”

Asked whether this condemnation applied to Israel, he said: “It applies to all use of excessive force, and obviously in this situation, there was an excessive force used by Israeli forces.”

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan called the UN chief’s remarks “shameful, far-fetched, and completely detached from reality.”

He said the Israeli military action in Jenin “focused solely on combating the murderous Palestinian terror targeting innocent Israeli civilians.”

Israel PalestiniansPalestinians walk by a damaged house in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank (Nasser Nasser, AP)

UN spokesperson Farhan Mr Haq said the secretary-general “clearly condemns all of the violence that has been affecting the civilians in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, regardless of who is the perpetrator”.

The UN Security Council discussed Israel’s military operation in Jenin behind closed doors on Friday at the request of the United Arab Emirates and received a briefing from assistant secretary-general Khaled Khiari.

Mr Erdan sent a letter to the 15 council members and Mr Guterres before the council meeting saying that over the past year, 52 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, and many attacks were carried out from Jenin or from the area.

“The international community and the Security Council must unconditionally condemn the latest Palestinian terror attacks and hold Palestinian leadership accountable,” he said.

The Security Council took no action.