The Dutch government has supplied parts for planes Israel is using to spread death and destruction in Gaza. Warnings of serious violations of the law of war were ignored to avoid ‘major damage’ to the relationship with Israel and the U.S.
The Dutch government allowed a recent delivery of parts for Israeli F-35 fighter jets to go ahead, even though it was known that they would be used against the civilian population in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Warnings from internal legal experts of impending involvement in gross violations of the law of war were ignored. The delivery went ahead for fear of ‘major damage to relations with both Israel and the United States’.
This is according to research by Dutch daily NRC, published Tuesday night. The issue revolves around an order – placed by Israel in the period after the October 7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas – for spare parts for its F-35s. These are delivered from the European distribution center in the Dutch town Woensdrecht. A Dutch export license is therefore required.
Lawyers at the Foreign Ministry warned that with the F-35s ‘serious violations of humanitarian law of war’ are being committed, writes NRC. For that reason, the license should have been denied. But Ministers Hanke Bruins Slot (CDA, christian democrats) and Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD, liberals) ignored the advice and gave their blessing to the exports. NRC quotes insiders who say the permission was based on fear of the consequences of refusal. In fact, the government allowed itself to be blackmailed by Israel and the U.S. – at the expense of Palestinian lives.
Liesbeth Zegveld, professor of international law and member of the Advisory Board of The Rights Forum, argues to NRC that by doing so, the Netherlands is knowingly contributing to war crimes: ‘The Netherlands must assume that everything supplied will be used in disproportionate airstrikes, making no distinction between civilians and Hamas fighters.’
NRC’s new revelation follows shortly after the already shocking Dutch leniency – including from the House of Representatives – for the unprecedented Israeli violence against the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip. According to UN figures on November 7, 10,328 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, including 4,237 children and 2,719 women. Yet the Netherlands continues to tolerate the violence. And thus even facilitate it. Not only with the recent delivery. Israeli F-35s have apparently been flying for years with parts for which a Dutch export license was granted.