Dutch Court Orders Government to Stop Providing F-35 Parts to Israel – David Kattenburg 2/13/24

Source: Mondoweiss.net

Yesterday, an appeals court ruling in The Hague ordered the Dutch government to cease exports of F-35 fighter bomber components to Israel.

The ruling overturned a December 15 decision by the District Court of The Hague, dismissing a suit by three Dutch human rights groups seeking a halt in the provision of F-35 spare parts to Israel.

Those spare parts are stored at Woensdrecht Air Base, at the top of the Scheldt estuary, one of three European ‘logistics hubs’ for Lockheed Martin’s “lethal” F-35 Lightning II stealth bomber. F-35 users from across Europe (and Israel) go there to pick up spare parts under a general license applying to all members of the “international F-35 program.”

For the Dutch rights groups who launched the F-35 parts case, yesterday’s Appeals Court ruling reaffirms the primacy of international law in their country’s international dealings and the role of citizens’ groups in furthering the law’s enforcement.

“[For] this government, at this moment, trade and international relations with the United States and Israel are more important than international law,” Rights Forum Director Gerard Jonkman told Mondoweiss. “And if this country, with this attitude, has to stop now supplying Israel with these spare parts, I think this is really significant, and this is a big blow for the Dutch government, definitely.”

The Court ruling

On close reading, Monday’s 18-page Appeals Court ruling was much more than about the provisioning of spare parts for high-performance fighter bombers in an increasingly bloody war.

Its most significant arguments enunciated the primacy of international law over shortsighted and arguably illegal trade and foreign policy and the critical role of citizens in upholding the rule of law.

“The court recognizes the interest that the State has in ensuring that the Netherlands fulfills its international obligations towards the US, an important ally,” the three-judge Appeals Court panel ruled. But, “compliance with [its] international obligations … carries more weight.”…

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