Israel accused the Supreme Court of making a political ruling: Irit Kahan, who represented Israel at the hearing, told army radio on 13 February that discussions in the court frequently strayed from judicial to political matters. Israeli President Moshe Katsav has written to King Albert II of Belgium criticising the decision and claimed that Israeli troops in Lebanon acted ‘according to international norms and the laws of conscience and human morals’. Incumbent Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement calling the ruling: ‘a scandalous decision, which legitimises terror and harms those who fight it. Belgium is helping to harm not only Israel but also the entire free world, and Israel will respond with severity to this,’ he warned.

Other world figures against whom cases are pending under Belgium’s universal jurisdiction law include Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Cuban President Fidel Castro and Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.