Dutch Court Moves to Block Export of F-35 Jet Parts to Israel

By John Mercury February 13, 2024

A court in the Netherlands on Monday ordered the Dutch government to stop exporting parts for F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a move that reflected mounting alarm over the heavy civilian toll of Israel’s war in Gaza but was unlikely to have an immediate effect on the military campaign.

The Netherlands hosts a warehouse of U.S.-owned F-35 parts that are exported to countries that operate the fighters. Oxfam and two other human rights organizations filed a lawsuit against the Dutch government in December, demanding that it halt the exports amid concerns over potential Israeli violations of international law in Gaza.

In an initial ruling in December, a court declined to issue the order, but on Monday a court of appeals in The Hague said it agreed with the rights groups. It gave the Dutch government seven days to stop exporting F-35 parts to Israel.

“The court finds that there is a clear risk that Israel’s F-35 fighter jets might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law,” it said in a ruling.

The Dutch government said it would lodge an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court against the ruling, which came as Prime Minister Mark Rutte was visiting Israel. Israel’s Defense Ministry declined to comment.

More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to health officials there, since Israel launched a retaliatory war against Hamas after the armed group’s deadly Oct. 7 attack. Rights organizations have increasingly called for countries to block weapons exports to Israel to protest how the country is carrying out its offensive — and on Monday the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, suggested the international community should “think about” providing fewer arms.

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