Dutch court clears export of F-35 parts to Israel

Dutch court clears export of F-35 parts to Israel
Dutch court clears export of F-35 parts to Israel

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The Netherlands can continue to deliver parts for F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, after a Dutch court today threw out a case brought by a group of human rights organisations. — Unsplash pic

THE HAGUE, Dec 15 — The Netherlands can continue to deliver parts for F-35 fighter jets used by Israel in the Gaza Strip, after a Dutch court today threw out a case brought by a group of human rights organisations.

The district court in The Hague said that supplying the parts was primarily a political decision that judges should not interfere with.

“The considerations that the minister makes are to a large extent of a political and policy nature and judges should leave the minister a large amount of freedom,” the court ruled.

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The organisations, including the local branch of Amnesty International, had argued that supplying the parts contributed to alleged violations of international law by Israel in its war with Hamas.

The US-owned F-35 parts are 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.

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Dutch authorities said it was not clear whether they even had 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, a human rights lawyer for the plaintiffs, had dismissed that as “nonsense.”

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

Government lawyers also argued that if the Dutch did not supply the 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 that Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, the war has killed more than 18,700 people, mostly women and children.

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

The judge also ruled that the government “was not obliged to reassess the permit granted in 2016 for the transport of F-35 parts” in light of the current conflict.

The plaintiffs “have not made it sufficiently clear what exactly the State is accused of and in what respect the State is acting unlawfully,” the court added. — AFP

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