There was no immediate indication at the end of the two-hour session when the judges would rule in the case heard ahead of World Court deliberations on the same issue later this month.
In a separate challenge to Israel, Palestinian leaders were considering whether to declare a state unilaterally in the West Bank and Gaza to counter an Israeli threat of go-alone disengagement steps, a senior Palestinian official said.
“This is one of the options that are being studied in response to (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon’s unilateral plan and to try to foil it,” said Abed Rabbo, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
Abed Rabbo said he had put forward the suggestion at a meeting of the committee, the top Palestinian policy-making body, at the weekend. He said Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was there, but made no comment on the idea.
Unilateral moves by either side would leave a U.S.-backed peace “road map” in tatters and widen a yawning divide between Israel and the Palestinians that is now taking concrete shape as a barrier rising in the West Bank.
The road map calls for an end to violence, mutual confidence-building steps and negotiations leading to creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.
SHARON TO UNDERGO OPERATION TO REMOVE STONES
Sharon has said his drawing of a new “security line” in the West Bank and Gaza, in the event Israel decides that further peace efforts are futile, would leave the Palestinians with less land than they have been seeking for a state.
The 75-year-old leader was to undergo a hospital procedure later in the day to remove stones in his urinary tract. His office said he would be sent home the same evening after surgeons use ultrasonic waves to smash the stones.