THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Judges in the Netherlands on Monday ordered the Dutch government to halt the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, citing a clear risk of violations of international law.
A trio of human rights organizations brought a civil suit against the Netherlands in December, arguing that authorities needed to reevaluate the export license in light of Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip. They argued that delivery of parts for the aircraft makes the Netherlands complicit in possible war crimes being committed by Israel in its war with Hamas.
A lower court sided with the government in January, allowing the government to continue sending U.S.-owned parts stored at a warehouse in the town of Woensdrecht to Israel.
On Monday, judges at The Hague Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and ordered the government to cease exports within seven days. The decision can be appealed.
“It is undeniable that there is a clear risk that the exported F-35 parts are used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” Judge Bas Boele said in reading out the ruling, eliciting cheers from several people in the courtroom.
Government lawyers have said banning transfers of F-35 parts from the Netherlands would effectively be meaningless as the U.S. could deliver them from elsewhere.