A Dutch court ordered the government to stop exporting F-35 jet parts to Israel within a week due to concerns about their use in Gaza, violating international law.
Despite government lawyers’ attempts to delay this decision, the court highlighted the clear risk of these parts contributing to serious breaches of humanitarian law.
The government plans to appeal, arguing the ruling interferes with its foreign policy rights. Trade Minister van Leeuwen insists on the importance of these exports for Israel’s defence, especially against threats from Iran and neighbouring countries. He believes it’s too early to predict the ruling’s effect on Israel and emphasizes the ongoing international cooperation.
Van Leeuwen separates the appeal from Gaza’s “alarming” situation, where conflict has caused over 28,000 Palestinian casualties and displaced many. Israel denies any war crimes, framing its military actions as defensive against a Hamas attack. Israeli official Levy expects ally support against Hamas without directly addressing the court case.
Human rights groups, including Oxfam Netherlands, initiated the legal challenge to uphold international law for Gaza’s residents. An earlier court hesitated to stop exports despite recognizing the potential for law violations by the F-35s. Yet, the appeals court saw a clear risk to international law, dismissing political reasons for arms exports and requiring a reevaluation of export permits.
The Netherlands hosts a regional F-35 parts warehouse, serving multiple countries, including Israel. The government reassures international partners of its commitment to the F-35 program and defence cooperation.
According to Judge Boele, future exports to Israel might be allowed if they can assure the parts won’t be used in Gaza operations.