BERLIN – A Dutch appeals court has ruled that the Dutch government must halt shipments of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel due to the Israeli army’s ongoing attack on the Gaza Strip.
“The court finds that there is a clear risk that Israeli F-35 fighter jets could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law,” the court said on Monday.
The Dutch chapter of international humanitarian group Oxfam welcomed the decision, along with two other non-governmental human rights organizations that sued the government in December.
“This positive court ruling is very good news, especially for civilians in Gaza,” Oxfam said in a statement. “It is an important step to force the Dutch government to comply with international law.”
Israel denies it is violating international law and says it is fighting in Gaza to crush Hamas and secure the release of hostages after the Palestinian militant group’s deadly attack on Israel on October 7.
But the court said: “Israel’s attacks on Gaza have resulted in a disproportionate number of civilian casualties, including thousands of children.”
It ordered the Dutch government to implement the decision within seven days and said the state has eight weeks to appeal the decision.
The government says it will implement the decision, but will appeal to the Supreme Court.
“In the eyes of the government, the distribution of American F-35 parts is not unlawful,” the government said in a statement. According to the Court, the court did not take into account the role of the state in determining foreign policy.
The Israeli division of Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, said it is evaluating what impact the court ruling could have on the supply chain. The times of Israel reported.
Britain is facing a similar lawsuit brought by two human rights groups seeking to prevent arms exports to Israel.
The court announced its decision as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is traveling to Israel to discuss the conflict with leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian Authorities.
The news followed a night in which Israel carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 50 people in the area, according to health officials.
The Israeli army said on Monday that its special forces rescued two hostages held there.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, more than 28,000 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli bombardment in Gaza. Israeli officials said the country launched the military campaign after Hamas killed 1,200 people and took some 240 hostage in the Oct. 7 attack.
Rob Schmitz reported from Berlin; Alex Leff from Washington, DC