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Court orders Netherlands to stop F-35 parts delivery to Israel

An F-35 fighter jet returns to a Danish air force base on October 1, 2023
An F-35 fighter jet returns to a Danish air force base on October 1, 2023 - Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File Bo Amstrup
An F-35 fighter jet returns to a Danish air force base on October 1, 2023 - Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File Bo Amstrup

The Netherlands must stop delivering parts for F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, after a Dutch court Monday upheld an appeal by human rights organisations.

The groups had argued that supplying the parts contributed to alleged violations of international law by Israel in its war with Hamas.

“The court orders the State to cease all actual export and transit of F-35 parts with final destination Israel within seven days after service of this judgement,” said the ruling.

The US-owned F-35 parts are stored at a warehouse in the Netherlands and then shipped to several partners, including Israel, via existing export agreements.

“In doing so, the Netherlands is contributing to serious violations of humanitarian law of war in Gaza,” the rights groups argue.

In December, the district court in The Hague had said that supplying the parts was primarily a political decision that judges should not interfere with.

“The considerations that the minister makes are to a large extent of a political and policy nature and judges should leave the minister a large amount of freedom,” the court ruled at the time.

Dutch authorities had said it was not clear whether they even had the power to intervene in the deliveries, part of a US-run operation that supplies parts to all F-35 partners.

Government lawyers also argued that if the Dutch did not supply the parts from the warehouse based in the Netherlands, Israel could easily procure them elsewhere.

The war was launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

Those attacks resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. Israel says around 130 are still in Gaza, though 29 are thought to be dead.

Israel has responded with a relentless offensive in Gaza that the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says has killed at least 28,340 people as of Monday, mostly women and children.

International law experts have told AFP that human rights violations are likely being carried out by both parties to the conflict.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, which rules on disputes between states, has said Israel must do everything possible to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza.

That ruling “strengthens our confidence in a positive ruling in our case”, said PAX Netherlands, one of the rights groups involved in the appeal.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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