Three organizations – Oxfam Novib, Peace Movement PAX Netherlands, and The Rights Forum – have taken legal action against the Dutch government to ban the export of F-35 parts to Israel.
The Netherlands hosts one of three centers in the world for the maintenance of the F-35, in which US-supplied parts are stored for delivery to F-35 operators. Called the Logistics Center Woensdrecht, it does supply parts to Israel, among other countries. These parts are considered military goods and require a local export permit. The Dutch government granted this permit in 2016.
Following an attack by Hamas and Israel’s military response in October 2023, the government reviewed the export license for F-35 parts to Israel. The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation decided not to intervene and allowed the export to continue.
In December 2023, the three organizations brought the case to the Hague District Court, but it refused to enforce a ban. However, on February 12, 2024, the Dutch Court of Appeal in the Hague overruled in their favor and ordered the government to stop the further export of F-35 parts to Israel.
“The court rules that there is a clear risk that serious violations of humanitarian law of war are committed in the Gaza Strip with Israel’s F-35 fighter aircraft,” the decision reads. “Israel’s attacks have caused a disproportionate number of civilian casualties, including thousands of children.”
The court emphasized that the Netherlands is a party to various international regulations, which prohibit the export of military goods if there is a clear risk of humanitarian law violations. Therefore, it ordered the government to stop further exporting F-35 parts to Israel within seven days of the decision.