Seven days: this is the strict deadline given by the judges of a court in The Hague (Netherlands) to the Dutch government to stop the delivery of military components to Israel. In a decision handed down on Monday February 12, the Hague Appeals Chamber found that there is “a clear risk” that the F-35s used by the Hebrew State, of which the Netherlands exports certain components, allow “serious violations of humanitarian law” by Israel against the Palestinians of Gaza. The judges believe that“Israel does not sufficiently take into account the consequences of its attacks on the civilian population” in Gaza, which led to “a disproportionate number of civilian deaths, including thousands of children”.
Since the bombing of Gaza began on October 8, 2023, more than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed. The 2013 International Arms Trade Treaty, ratified by many Western states, prohibits the transfer of weapons when the state knows they could be used to commit mass crimes.
As early as November 2023, an official at the Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv was concerned about the modus operandi of the Israeli army in Gaza. Three NGOs – Oxfam Novib, Pax and The Rights Forum – had, at the same time, taken the case to Dutch justice. Just before the hearings, in mid-January, around twenty diplomats and senior officials questioned the resigned government of Mark Rutte. They criticized the Prime Minister for wanting to“attract the good graces of the United States to win the seat of NATO Secretary General”.
The Netherlands “respect the court’s decision and will implement it”said the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Cooperation in a press release, while announcing that it would appeal to the Court of Cassation. “It is up to the State to define its foreign policy”, announced Minister Geoffrey Van Leeuwen in this press release. This was also the position of the trial chamber which rendered its decision in December 2023.
The minister also announced the organization of consultations with the partners of the F-35 program, “to guarantee the Dutch role”. It is about “reliability” From the Netherlands “in international and European defense cooperation”. The press release estimates that the F-35 “play a crucial role in Israel’s security”threatened by its neighbors, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria, the statement said.
The parts concerned are used in the manufacture of these combat aircraft, and are stored at the Woensdrecht base, in the southwest of the Netherlands, a regional distribution center for the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
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