The court said there is a “clear risk” that Dutch F-35 parts are being used by Israel to violate international humanitarian law in Gaza.
An appeals court on Monday ordered the Dutch government to stop exporting F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, citing a clear risk of violating international law.
A group of human rights organizations filed a civil lawsuit against the Netherlands in December, arguing that authorities needed to reevaluate export licenses in light of Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip.
“It cannot be denied that there is a clear risk that exported F-35 parts are used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” Judge Bas Boele said in reading the verdict.
Exports must stop within seven days.
The decision came as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte traveled to Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the conflict. Rutte was also expected to meet separately with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.
“We are extremely grateful that there is justice and that the court is willing to speak on justice,” lead lawyer Lisbeth Ziegveld told reporters after the hearing.
Oxfam Novib, Pax Nederland and the Rights Forum filed the case in December. He argued that the continued transfer of aircraft parts makes the Netherlands complicit in potential war crimes being committed by Israel in its war with Hamas.
In January, a lower court sided with the government, allowing the Dutch to continue sending US-owned parts stored in a warehouse in the city of Voensdrecht to Israel.
The Netherlands is home to one of three F-35 European regional warehouses.
Other countries are also considering restricting arms sales to Israel. Human rights groups in the United Kingdom have filed a similar lawsuit against their government, attempting to stop arms exports to Israel.
Late last month, the UN’s top court ordered Israel to make every possible effort to prevent any further acts of death, destruction and genocide in Gaza. Although the decision was made after hearing an appeal in the Dutch case, lawyers for the groups say the judges likely considered the International Court of Justice’s ruling as legally binding.
This decision left some scope for Dutch authorities to export parts of aircraft being used in operations other than Gaza.
The Foreign Ministry said it was studying the decision. The government has eight weeks to appeal, although the export ban will remain in place.