Judgment in the Netherlands
Court stops export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel
February 12, 2024, 6:35 p.m
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There is a warehouse for US-owned F-35 parts in the Netherlands. The government there now wants to deliver some of these fighter jet components to Israel for the fight against the terrorist organization Hamas. Human rights activists are suing against it – with success. A court bans the export.
A Dutch appeals court has stopped the export of parts for the F-35 fighter jet to Israel. The court justified this with concerns that the fighter jets equipped with them could be used in the Gaza war in violation of international law. “It is undeniable that there is a clear risk that the exported F-35 parts will be used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” the court ruled.
The government must comply with the order within seven days. The court rejected a government request to suspend enforcement of the export ban pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. The lawsuit against the Dutch government was filed in December 2023 by several human rights groups, including the Dutch subsidiary of Oxfam. The Netherlands is home to one of several regional warehouses for US-owned F-35 parts. From there they are distributed to countries that request them, including Israel in at least one shipment since the radical Islamic Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.
The government announced an appeal to the Supreme Court. The court order violates the state’s responsibility for formulating foreign policy. “The supply of US F-35 parts to Israel is not unjustified,” said Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen. The F-35s are crucial to Israel’s security and its ability to protect itself from threats in the region, “for example from Iran, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.”
It is too early to assess what impact the ruling will have: “We are part of a large consortium of countries that also work with Israel, and we will talk to our partners about how we can deal with it,” said van Leeuwen . In a separate legal case, the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ top court, ordered Israel in January to take measures to avoid genocide in the war against Hamas. The ruling prompted renewed calls from human rights groups for a ban on arms exports to Israel.