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Dutch court orders its government to stop supplying Israel with F-35 parts or risk 'serious violations of international humanitarian law'

Israeli Air Force F-35 flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Departing from its government policy, a Dutch court ruled on Monday that the Netherlands must end deliveries of components for Israeli F-35 fighter jets amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

“The court orders the State to cease all actual export and transit of F-35 parts with final destination Israel within seven days after service of this judgment,” the Dutch court stated in its ruling.

The Dutch court's instructions were made following pressure from human rights organizations that believe Israel is breaking the rules of war in Gaza, neglecting to call Hamas into account for embedding its terror infrastructure deep within civilian areas.

“It is undeniable that there is a clear risk that the exported F-35 parts are used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” said Presiding Judge Bas Boele.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Jerusalem, and updated him on the progress of Israel's war against the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu emphasized that Israel would eliminate the Hamas battalions in Rafah, the terror group's last remaining stronghold in Gaza, adding that the war is expected to continue until “total victory” over Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Feb. 12, 2024 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The Dutch government disagrees on principle with the court’s ruling and says it will appeal the order. It argues that the advanced F-35 fleet plays a crucial role in defending Israel against “threats in the region, for example from Iran, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.”

While the F-35 jets are produced in the U.S., some parts are stored in Dutch warehouses and then distributed to client air forces worldwide.

Dutch government lawyer, Reimer Veldhuis, responded to the court’s ruling, saying, “Israel must be able to respond to threats from the region. That must, of course, happen within the framework of international law.”

Veldhuis further stressed that the Dutch government “believes that a clear risk of serious breaches (of international law) through the use of F-35s cannot at the moment be established.”

Furthermore, the Dutch lawyer believes Washington would be able to circumvent a potential Dutch government export ban to Israel, adding: “The United States would deliver these parts to Israel from another place.”

The fifth-generation F-35s are considered some of the world’s most advanced fighter jets and can operate at great distances without being detected by enemy radar. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) currently operates two F-35 squadrons that have already played a crucial role in Israel’s defense against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its regional terrorist proxies, such as Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq.

In July 2023, the Israeli government decided to acquire a third squadron, that would eventually expand the Israeli fleet to 75 planes. At the time, CEO of Lockheed Martin-Israel Joshua Shani stated that the central role of the jets was to confront regional threats and challenges.

“With a combination of stealth, sensor fusion and electronic warfare, the fifth-generation F-35 will ensure the Israeli Air Force stays ahead of current and evolving threats to protect its borders and citizens for decades to come,” said Shani.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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