PLO's Mission to United Nations Optimistic on Hague Fence Ruling

NEW YORK - The PLO's United Nations mission is quietly preparing for a concerted diplomatic effort aimed at guaranteeing a General Assembly majority on a resolution to demand that Israel comply with the International Court of Justice decision on the separation fence.

Sources in New York say the PLO's UN observer, Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, is privately showing confidence that the Hague court will deem the separation fence illegal, and call on Israel to desist from its construction. The Hague court is scheduled to issue its ruling on the separation court controversy in ten days.

The PLO mission, the sources say, is formulating a first draft of a proposed resolution which would contain a section demanding that Israel cease construction of the fence within six weeks of the Hague court's decision, and demolish parts of the fence already built.

In a press release issued by the PLO mission on June 25, Al-Kidwa "welcomed" the International Court of Justice's announcement that it will issue its ruling on the separation fence on July 9. This announcement, the PLO observer said, "reflects the urgency and importance which the court attributes to the matter."

The Palestinians "have complete faith" that the Hague court "will stand up for the spirit of international law," Al-Kidwa added in this release. "There is no doubt that the Hague court's decision will constitute an important development, and will influence matters" on the ground, Al-Kidwa concluded.

Al-Kidwa's optimistic tone in this June 25th statement, the New York sources speculated, derives from advance information received by the PLO million regarding the disposition of the Hague court on the fence controversy.

Two of the judges on the International Court of Justice are Arab, the sources noted - one is an Egyptian jurist, and the other is Jordanian.

UN insiders predicted yesterday that Al-Kidwa will not submit his resolution on the fence immediately after the issuance of the Hague court's decision. Instead, he will wait for the General Assembly meetings in September.

Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is scheduled to travel to the U.S. next week.

After talks in Washington, he is expected to go to New York and lobby against a UN resolution calling on Israel to comply with a possible Hague court ruling calling for a cessation of work on the separation fence.