Israel's War Effort Receives a Blow in Dutch Court

Dutch government ordered to stop sending F-35 parts to Israel given potential use in war crimes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2024 12:35 PM CST
Israel's War Effort Receives a Blow in Dutch Court
An Israeli F-35 plane flies near Beersheba, Israel, on June 29.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

A court has ordered the Dutch government to stop sending fighter jet components to Israel as they "might be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law." Human rights groups made that same argument in a lawsuit filed against the government in December. Oxfam Novib, Vredesbeweging PAX Nederland, and the Rights Forum called for the revocation of an export license allowing F-35 parts held at a regional warehouse in Woensdrecht to be shipped to Israel. Though a lower court found it was likely F-35s contributed to war crimes in Gaza, it ultimately ruled the state had freedom to set foreign policy, per Reuters. But as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Israel Monday, an appeals court decided alleged violations of international law took precedent.

"Israel does not take sufficient account of the consequences of its attacks for the civilian population," including "a disproportionate number of civilian casualties," the court said in ruling the government should stop the transfer of F-35 components within seven days. Oxfam said the decision "is very good news, especially for civilians in Gaza" and "an important step to force the Dutch government to adhere to international law." The government said it will abide by the ruling while appealing to the Dutch Supreme Court. "In the government's view, the distribution of American F-35 parts is not unlawful," it said in a Monday statement, stressing it was up to the state, not a court, to determine foreign policy.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, who met with Rutte, said he made clear the decision "will harm the global and Israeli imperative of fighting terror." Lockheed Martin Israel said it was still evaluating how the ruling would affect its supply chain, per the Times of Israel. Israel could face more trouble in sourcing military equipment as a lawsuit brought by human rights groups in the UK aims to block weapons exports, per NPR. Judge Jeffrey White of the US District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit against the US government's alleged failure to stop "genocide" in Gaza last month, saying the matter was outside his jurisdiction, per the AP, but he urged the White House to consider the consequences of its support for a military siege that could amount to genocide.

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After Monday's ruling, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell drew attention to President Biden's recent comment that Israel's conduct in Gaza was "over the top." "If you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed," Borrell said, per Reuters, which points to the $3.8 billion in military aid the US provides to Israel each year. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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