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THE HAGUE: A protester holds up the Palestinian flag during a rally outside the courthouse prior to the verdict on the export of parts for F-35 fighter jets on Feb 12, 2024. – AFP
THE HAGUE: A protester holds up the Palestinian flag during a rally outside the courthouse prior to the verdict on the export of parts for F-35 fighter jets on Feb 12, 2024. – AFP
Netherlands ordered to stop F-35 parts delivery to Zionists

THE HAGUE: The Netherlands must stop delivering parts for F-35 fighter jets used by the Zionist entity in the Gaza Strip, after a Dutch court Monday ruled there was a “clear risk” the planes would be involved in breaking international humanitarian law. The Appeals Court in The Hague sided with a group of human rights organizations that argued the parts contributed to violations of law by the Zionist entity in its war with Hamas.

“The court therefore orders the State to put an end to the further export of F-35 parts to (the Zionist entity) within 7 days,” said the ruling. “There is a clear risk that serious violations of humanitarian law of war are committed in the Gaza Strip with (the Zionist entity’s) F-35 fighter planes,” added the judge. The US-owned F-35 parts are stored at a warehouse in the Netherlands and then shipped to several partners, including the Zionist entity, via existing export agreements.

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.

But the appeals court overturned this ruling, saying the Netherlands “must prohibit the export of military goods if there is a clear risk of serious violations of the humanitarian law of war”. “(The Zionist entity) does not take sufficient account of the consequences for the civilian population when conducting its attacks,” said the court. The attacks in Gaza “have caused a disproportionate number of civilian casualties, including thousands of children”.

Dutch authorities had 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. Government lawyers also argued that if the Dutch did not supply the parts from the warehouse based in the Netherlands, the Zionist entity could easily procure them elsewhere.

Export licenses were granted in 2016 for an unlimited time, but the court ruled the situation had radically changed since then and the government had to take that into account. “The fact that the licenses are concluded for an unlimited time does not mean that the State can close its eyes to what happens afterwards,” said the court.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, which rules on disputes between states, has said the Zionist entity must do everything possible to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza. That ruling “strengthens our confidence in a positive ruling in our case”, said PAX Netherlands, one of the rights groups involved in the appeal. “This positive ruling by the judge is very good news. Especially for the civilians in Gaza,” said Michiel Servaes, head of Oxfam Novib, another group involved in the appeal. — AFP

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