The Palestinian Authority on Thursday called Israel's decision not to appear at the International Court of Justice hearing to be held later this month over the legality of the West Bank separation fence an "admission of guilt."
"This is a recognition that the Israelis cannot face the international community and international law and justice," said Nabil Abu Rdeineh, an adviser to Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat.
Top Israeli cabinet ministers decided earlier in the day that Israel will not participate in the proceedings set to begin February 23 in The Hague.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry's legal adviser, Alan Baker, said the official decision would be submitted Friday to the court in the Hague, Netherlands.
The UN General Assembly in December asked its highest tribunal to issue a nonbinding ruling on the legality of Israel's so-called separation barrier.
Israel challenges the world court's authority to rule on the barrier, arguing that the issue is being "manipulated" by its opponents for political ends.
Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said the issue should be discussed between Israelis and Palestinians, not by the court. "It might be we will decide not to participate," he said on Wednesday, during a trip to India. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )