(Bloomberg) -- A Dutch court ordered the Netherlands to halt shipments of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, citing a “clear risk” of human-rights law violations amid the ongoing military assault in the Gaza Strip.
The appeals tribunal in the Hague overturned a previous December ruling and gave the government a seven-day deadline to cease deliveries of parts for the Lockheed Martin Corp. aircraft.
“Israel’s attacks have caused a disproportionate number of civilian casualties, including thousands of children,” the court said. Due to its international obligations, “the Netherlands must prohibit the export of military goods if there is a clear risk of serious violations of the humanitarian law of war.”
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A permit was granted for the export of the parts in 2016, but that was looked at again by the minister of foreign trade when Hamas, which is labeled a terrorist group by the US and the European Union, attacked Israel in October last year.
The ruling is a victory for human rights organizations Oxfam Novib, Vredesbeweging PAX Nederland and the Rights Forum.
Spare parts for F-35s originating from the US are being stored in the Dutch airbase at Woensdrecht from which they are shipped to several European countries and Israel. The judgment hit while Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories. He hasn’t yet responded to the verdict.
The Dutch government is lodging an appeal in cassation to the Dutch Supreme Court against the judgment because it believes it is up to the state to determine its foreign policy, it said in a separate statement.
“Of course the government respects the Court of Appeal’s judgment and will implement it,” it said.
The government will consult with international partners within the F-35 programme in order to ensure that the Netherlands remains a reliable partner in the F-35 project and in European and international defense cooperation. The state added that its decision to file an appeal is separate from the situation in Gaza.
“The Netherlands continues to call for an immediate temporary humanitarian ceasefire, and for as much humanitarian aid as possible to be allowed to reach the suffering people of Gaza,” the government said.
(Updates with Dutch government comment from seventh paragraph)
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