WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sensitive to Israeli political tensions, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today canceled a Middle East trip that had been scheduled for this month.

A senior State Department official said the department advised Mrs. Clinton against the trip after it became clear that Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak would need longer than expected to form a government.

The official, who commented only on condition of anonymity, said the advice to Mrs. Clinton was not a sign the United States had lost confidence that Barak could form a government.

Mrs. Clinton's tour, scheduled at the end of President Clinton's trip to the G-8 summit in Germany, was to include stops in Israel, Jordan and Yemen for the ``Emerging Democracy Conference'' there, and meetings with the Palestinian Authority. The first lady's office said the trip would be rescheduled but offered no details or explanation, referring all inquiries to the State Department.

Mrs. Clinton will still travel through Europe next week with her husband, and will additionally keep a date to address an education conference in Sicily, Italy, on June 18, spokeswoman Toby Graff said.

The first lady will also stop in Fes, Morocco, before returning to Washington.

Her trip to the Middle East was originally scheduled for March but was postponed then, as well, so as not to disturb the pending Israeli elections or Jordan's mourning of King Hussein's death.