A Dutch appeals court on Monday ordered the government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, fearing they could be used to violate international law during Israel’s Gaza offensive .
He said the state must comply with the order within seven days and rejected government lawyers’ request to stay the order pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.
“It is undeniable that there is a clear risk that exported F-35 parts could be used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” the court said.
The government said it would appeal to the Supreme Court, saying the order transgressed the state’s responsibility to formulate its own foreign policy.
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“The delivery of American spare parts for F-35 to Israel is in our opinion not unjustified,” said Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen.
He said the F-35s were crucial to Israel’s security and its ability to protect itself from threats in the region, “for example those from Iran, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.”
Van Leeuwen said it was too early to say what effect the verdict would have on Israel.
“We are part of a large consortium of countries that also work with Israel, we will discuss with our partners how to manage this.”
The decision to appeal has nothing to do with the “very worrying” situation in Gaza, he added.
Israel’s massive air and ground offensive in the densely populated Gaza Strip has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave, and forced most of its 2.3 million residents to leave their homes.
Israel denies committing war crimes in its attacks on Gaza, which followed Hamas’ cross-border raid on southern Israel on October 7, in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 240 taken hostage .
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Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy could not comment specifically on the matter, but said Israel expected its allies “to stand firmly with us as we fight to translate Hamas into justice following the October 7 massacre.
In a separate court case in January, the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, ordered Israel to take steps to prevent acts of genocide in its war against Hamas. The move sparked renewed calls from human rights groups to ban arms exports to Israel.
The case against the Dutch government was brought by several human rights groups, including the Dutch subsidiary of Oxfam, last December.
“We hope that this decision will strengthen international law in other countries so that citizens of Gaza are also protected by international law,” Michiel Servaes, director of Oxfam Novib, said in a statement.
In an initial ruling in December, a lower Dutch court stopped short of ordering the Dutch government to stop exports, even though it found it likely that the F-35s contributed to violations of laws of war.
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But where the lower court ruled that the state had a wide degree of freedom to weigh political and political issues before deciding on arms exports, the appeals court said such concerns do not. did not outweigh the obvious risk of violations of international law.
The appeals court also said it was likely the F-35s were used in attacks on Gaza, resulting in unacceptable civilian casualties. It rejected the Dutch State’s argument that it was not necessary to carry out a new check of the export authorization.
The Netherlands is home to one of several regional warehouses for U.S. parts for the F-35, from which parts are distributed to countries that request them, including Israel in at least one shipment since October 7.
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The government said it would try to convince its partners that it would remain a reliable member of the F-35 program and other forms of international and European defense cooperation.
Presiding Judge Bas Boele said it was possible that the Dutch government would allow the export of F-35 parts to Israel in the future, but only on the strict condition that they are not used in military operations in Gaza.