A Dutch appeals court on Monday ordered the government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over concerns they were being used in violations of international law during Israel's Gaza offensive.
It said the state had to comply with the order within seven days and dismissed a request by government lawyers to suspend the order pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Dutch government ay said it would appeal the order; it has eight weeks to appeal against the decision.
The U.S.-owned F-35 parts are stored at a warehouse in the Netherlands and then shipped to several partners, including Israel, via existing export agreements.
The court upheld an appeal by human rights organizations that had argued that supplying the parts contributed to alleged violations of international law by Israel in its war with Hamas.
"In doing so, the Netherlands is contributing to serious violations of humanitarian law of war in Gaza," the rights groups argued.
According to the judges' decision, "the clear concern that the exported parts are being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law cannot be denied."
The judges said in their decision that maintaining good relations with the U.S. and Israel is not a valid argument for the continued export of the parts. This is despite the fact that the parts of the fighter jets exported from the Netherlands do not belong to it, but to the U.S., which keeps them in warehouses in the Netherlands in order to optimize the export process.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is currently visiting Israel, for the third time since October 7. He even expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself and act against Hamas.
In December, the district court in The Hague had 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 at the time.
Dutch authorities had said it was not clear whether they even had the power to intervene in the deliveries, part of a U.S.-run operation that supplies parts to all F-35 partners.
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.
With the beginning of the fighting in Gaza, human rights organizations intensified the tone against Israel, and took a one-sided position identifying with the Palestinians. This is how Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two of the most prominent organizations in the world, acted, among other things, to prosecute Israel for committing war crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
During the war, the Human Rights Watch organization called on the countries that supply weapons to Israel to impose an embargo "so that they do not get involved in the commission of war crimes," and claimed in relation to the IDF's operations in the Gaza Strip that "the commission of atrocities does not justify the commission of more atrocities." Amnesty International also spoke out against Israel, in almost total identification with the Palestinian positions in the conflict.
International law experts have told AFP that human rights violations are likely being carried out by both parties to the conflict.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague, which rules on disputes between states, has said Israel must do everything possible to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza.