The Netherlands must stop exporting parts of F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, a Dutch court has ruled (AFP/Tobias SCHWARZ)
The Netherlands must stop exporting parts of F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, ruling that there was a “clear risk” that the planes would be involved in a violation of international humanitarian law.
The Court of Appeal in The Hague thus ruled in favor of human rights organizations who maintain that these documents contribute to violations of the law by Israel in its war against Hamas.
“The court orders the State to cease all actual export and transit of F-35 parts to the final destination Israel within 7 days of service of this judgment,” the court said.
“The court finds that there is a clear risk that serious violations of the humanitarian laws of war will be committed in the Gaza Strip with Israeli F-35 fighter jets,” she added.
The case concerns F-35 parts belonging to the United States and stored in the Netherlands from where they are sent to partner countries, including Israel, under export agreements.
The Hague District Court ruled in December that the provision of the documents was above all a political decision in which judges should not interfere.
The appeals court overturned this decision finding that the attacks in Gaza “caused a disproportionate number of civilian casualties, including thousands of children.”
“Israel does not sufficiently consider the consequences for the civilian population when carrying out its attacks,” she said.
An unprecedented assault by Hamas fighters in southern Israel on October 7 left more than 1,160 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “destroy” the Islamist movement, in power in Gaza since 2007, which it considers a “terrorist” organization, along with the United States and the European Union.
The Israeli offensive has left more than 28,340 dead in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
– “Close eyes” –
Dutch authorities indicated in November that they were unclear whether they had the right to intervene in the deliveries, carried out as part of an operation under the auspices of the United States to provide spare parts for all F-35s. partner countries.
Lawyers for the Dutch state also argued that if The Hague did not supply the parts from the Netherlands-based warehouse, Israel could easily obtain them elsewhere.
The export permit for these parts was granted in 2016 for an indefinite period but according to the Court of Appeal, the situation has changed radically since then.
“The fact that the permit is granted for an indefinite period does not mean that the State can turn a blind eye to subsequent events,” the court ruled.
The Dutch State will appeal to the Court of Cassation, the Dutch Minister of Trade and Development, Geoffrey van Leeuwen, said in a press release.
“Of course, the government respects the Court’s decision and will implement it” until then, he added.
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell suggested on Monday that the United States should deliver fewer weapons to Israel if they believe that there are too many deaths on the Palestinian side.
“If you think too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide fewer weapons to prevent so many people from being killed. Doesn’t that make sense?” the press, citing statements by American President Joe Biden deeming the Israeli response to Gaza “excessive”.
Everyone goes to Tel Aviv begging (…) protect civilians, don’t kill so many people”, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “doesn’t listen to anyone”, he added.
International law experts told AFP that human rights violations were likely committed by both sides in the conflict.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague, which rules on disputes between states, said Israel must do everything possible to prevent possible acts of genocide in Gaza.
The decision of the Court of Appeal is “very good news, especially for civilians in Gaza,” said Michiel Servaes, director of Oxfam Novib, one of the organizations initiating the legal proceedings against the state. Dutch.