Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv yesterday that took the life of a woman soldier and wounded dozens of people, had been the first to occur "under the aegis of the opinion of the International Court in The Hague." Sharon opened yesterday's cabinet meeting by linking yesterday's attack with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision stating that the separation fence was illegal.

"What the judges in the court refused to see, the Palestinians hurried yesterday to show with the murder and wounding of innocent people. It is not for nothing that the Palestinians are fighting the building of the fence. They know full well that its completion will make it very hard for them to continue their acts of murder," Sharon said. He also said the decision meant that "the sacred right to fight terror received a slap in the face by the court in The Hague." "This is a one-sided opinion, behind which there are only political considerations. The opinion entirely ignores the circumstances for the building of the security fence, which is murderous Palestinian terror. It deals only with the Israeli response to terror ... the building of the fence, which is the most reasonable means to respond to criminal terror."

Sharon stressed that "any civilized person for whom the stand against terror is important should take his place at Israel's side and oppose the opinion and its dangerous implications."

Sharon had called for a consultation with ministers yesterday concerning the ICJ's ruling, and ended the meeting with a directive to continue the building of the fence in keeping with the June 30 ruling of the High Court of Justice.

The High Court ruled that the routing of the fence must take into account the needs of the Palestinian population.

Sharon said that one reason for disengagement was "the evil winds blowing against Israel in the world. What happened in The Hague was not a wind, it was a storm." According to him, "this proves that if we don't know how to shape our future ourselves, the world will do it for us."

The prime minister added that it was unfortunate that Israel did not send a judge to The Hague as he had proposed in the past. But Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom disagreed, saying that thanks to the decision not to participate in the ICJ, Israel had rallied 32 countries to oppose the hearing in that forum.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that "the solution is to disengage more, and if it can't be moved up any sooner, it is important that it become more of a part of the consensus."

Yoav Biran, the director general of the Foreign Ministry, presented a description of the diplomatic picture for the ministers, explaining that in the coming days the UN General Assembly is expected to adopt the recommendations of the ICJ. Its decision will not be binding, and there will be time for Israel time to maneuver.

Biran said he believed that the Arab bloc will try in September to get a harsher resolution passed in the UN's General Assembly, and to move for a debate in the Security Council, where the U.S. has assured Israel it will veto an anti-Israel resolution. He also said the Arab bloc would try to convene an emergency session of the UN to convince it to recommend sanctions against Israel, but noted that Israel was working to put together a "quality minority" that would weaken such a resolution.

Sharon said the ICJ decision should be "fought by all legal and political means," and told the cabinet that he has asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz for an analysis of the ICJ decision and to recommend legal steps that can be taken against it.