Creating new perspectives since 2009

Netherlands court rejects demand to block F-35 fighter jet parts export to Israel

December 16, 2023 at 10:28 am

Two F-35 stealth fighter jets touch down at Nevatim Air Base near Beersheba on 12 December 2016 [Israeli Army/Anadolu Agency]

A Dutch court on Friday rejected demands from human rights groups to block the country’s government from exporting F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel on the grounds that the jets enable war crimes to be committed in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Judges at the District Court in The Hague said the Dutch government should be given a significant degree of freedom when weighing political and policy matters when deciding on arms exports.

The judges acknowledged the possible use of F-35 aircraft in the bombing of Gaza and potential violations of the laws of war but said under the terms of the arms export permit, they could only rule on whether the government had made a reasonable assessment regarding allowing exports to continue, saying there was no possibility for a judge to intervene.

READ: Sinwar through the eyes of occupation interrogators: ‘A man with no fear’

Human rights groups, including the Dutch affiliate of Oxfam, said that Israel was using F-35 planes, for which the Netherlands supplied spare parts, in bombing attacks in Gaza, leading to the killing of civilians in large-scale bombings that may constitute war crimes.

The human rights groups added that preventing this is more important than the Netherlands fulfilling its trade or political obligations towards allied countries.

The Netherlands hosts one of several regional warehouses for parts of US-owned F-35 jets, which are then distributed to countries that request them, including Israel.

Israel denies committing war crimes in its ongoing aggression against Gaza since 7 October, despite its bombings and ground operations, have so far killed around 19,000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children, and wounded more than 50,000.

READ: Houthi group targets 2 commercial ships heading to Israel