Dutch court to rule on export of F-35 parts to Israel

Dutch court to rule on export of F-35 parts to Israel

Amsterdam (AFP): A court in the Netherlands will rule Friday on whether to force the Dutch government to stop supplying parts for F-35 fighter jets being used by Israel over the Gaza Strip.

A group of human rights organisations has brought the case, arguing that supplying the parts contributes to alleged violations of international law by Israel in its war with Hamas.

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

These parts “make it possible for real bombs to be dropped on real houses and on real families,” said Michiel Servaes, director of Oxfam Novib, one of the plaintiffs.

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

“On the basis of current information on the deployment of Israeli F-35s, it cannot be established that the F-35s are involved in serious violations of humanitarian law of war,” the government said in a letter to parliament.

But Liesbeth Zegveld, human rights lawyer for the plaintiffs, dismissed this as “nonsense.”

She charged that the Dutch government was clearly familiar with what she termed “the enormous destruction of infrastructure and civilian centres in Gaza”.

Zegveld pointed to the government’s own export rules, which state that a licence should be refused if there is a “clear risk” the goods “will be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law”.

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

Now in its third month, the war was launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

It has since left Gaza in ruins, killing 18,878 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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