Will Netherlands be found guilty for being complicit in Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Yossi Schwartz ISL (the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 05.12.2023

The Netherlands faces a legal challenge over accusations that its role in the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel makes it complicit in war crimes in Gaza. [1]

“Three human rights organizations, including the Dutch arm of Oxfam, have brought the case at the district court in The Hague for the export of the fighter plane parts enables Israel to bomb the Gaza Strip” [2]

Israel disregards the fundamental principles of the laws of war, such as distinguishing between civilian and military targets and the principle of proportionality,” in the bombing of the Gaza Strip, the organizations said in their court filings” [3]

Israel denies having carried out war crimes, saying its forces abide by international law while fighting Hamas terrorists who operate in densely populated civilian areas. If you believe the stories of the Grimm brothers, you can also believe Israel’s lies.

The Netherlands is a regional warehouse storing US-owned F-35 parts, which can be sent on to other F-35 partner allies of the U.S such as Israel.

The Dutch Defense Ministry, which oversees the exports, would not comment on the court case, but in a letter to parliament last week said that, based on the current information, “it cannot be established that the F-35s are involved in grave violations of the humanitarian laws of war” [4]

If the court believes the ministry, the killing of more than 16,000 Palestinians, 70% women and children are not human beings. A ruling is expected in two weeks.

“Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot (CDA/EPP) and Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD/Renew) were informed about an Israeli order of spare parts for F-35 fighter jets in mid-October, according to sources from within the ministry, as revealed in an investigation conducted by NRC and published Tuesday.

Despite officials within the Foreign Ministry warning about delivering the spare parts to Israel, citing possible “serious violations of the humanitarian law of war”, notably in the Gaza Strip, the two ministers dismissed the warnings and ordered the export.

By greenlighting the export, the Dutch wished to maintain good relations both with Israel and the US, with the latter counting on the country to fulfill its role as a hub for F-35 spare parts, the NRC found.

Questioned by NRC, the Foreign Ministry said that the cabinet is discussing whether to submit “specific deliveries” within the F-35 program amount to “extra controls”.

Both “the Israeli right to self-defense” and “the risk of violations of international humanitarian law” would be considered during these discussions, it added.

The revelations were met with outcry from Dutch lawmakers and law professors.

Liesbeth Zegveld, Professor of International Law at the University of Amsterdam, more or less directly accused the Dutch government of 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. The Netherlands is knowingly contributing to war crimes,” she told NRC.

The situation in the Middle East has thoroughly divided the Netherlands.

While conservative and right-wing parties nearly unanimously support Israel and its genocide of the Palestinians  progressive and left-wing parties put more emphasis on the wide-scale human rights abuses committed by Israel against the Gaza Strip, including the humanitarian blockade of food, water and medicine from entering the territory as well as the wide-scale bombing campaign, which has led to significant civilian losses” [5]

“The International Criminal Court has the jurisdiction to investigate potential war crimes in Israel and Palestine. Palestine joined the court in 2015. In 2021, the then prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced the opening of an investigation into crimes alleged to have been committed since June 13 2014 in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the date when Palestine declared acceptance of ICC jurisdiction. Between then and early 2023, more than 3,000 people have been killed in Palestine, and more than 200 in Israel.

Given the current situation of the genocide by Israel according to Tirana Hasan, the director of global rights campaigner Human Rights Watch, Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, can warns Hamas and Israel against committing crimes.  The former prosecutor Bensouda did something similar in 2018 when she warned Israel not to forcefully evict a Palestinian community from Khan al-Ahmar, a village in the occupied West Bank. She said the eviction could constitute a war crime, as defined in article 8.2 of the ICC Treaty, which prohibits the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory. Combined with pressure from local and international, a warning of this kind could have a temporary effect, as it did in this case. But, in the event, even though diplomats from many states have tried to discourage the eviction, the Israeli government still wants to proceed.

Secondly – and more importantly – Khan told Reuters press agency on October 12 that the actions of both Hamas militants in Israel and Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC, even though Israel is not a member state. “It’s horrendous what’s going on, what we’re seeing on our television screens. There has to be a legal process to determine criminal responsibility,” he added.” [6]

Yet Israel has committed for many years war crimes and it has not stood trial for crimes against humanity, for being an apartheid state and for committing war crimes and it is not likely to change as the ICC is an instrument of the imperialists and prosecutes only leaders of non-imperialist countries.

But this challenge to the Nederland can spread to other imperialist states like Biden and Rishi Sunak and exposes the nature of the UN as a den of murderers and thieves. This will assist the argument that the partition plan of 1947 was a criminal act against the native Palestinians.

Down with the imperialists and its instruments for oppressions!

Down with the settler colonialist’s murdering war of genocide!

For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!


[1] https://www.jpost.com/international/article-776403

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/dutch-cabinet-in-hot-water-following-revelations-of-continued-f-35-deliveries-to-israel/

[6] https://theconversation.com/where-the-icc-stands-if-war-crimes-are-committed-on-either-side-of-the-israel-hamas-war-216093

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