Above photo: Guy Smallman.
Palestine Action Strikes Again.
Activists take aim at Elbit Systems once more, raiding and occupying their weapons factory in Shenstone.
Palestine Action have raided Elbit System’s subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd, in Shenstone, Staffordshire at 7.15 this morning. The activists have sprayed blood-red paint and begun dismantling the weapons factory, whilst occupying the roof to prevent site operations. With windows smashed and equipment dismantled, the action draws parallels with Israel’s forced demolitions of Palestinian homes, sounding the alarm on the ethnic cleansing Israel is currently enacting in Sheikh Jarrah, Palestine.
Elbit Systems are Israel’s largest arms manufacturer and hold a significant presence in Britain. A key subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd has been a target of Palestine Action since the group’s launch in July 2020, when activists shut the site five times in five months and caused millions of pounds of losses. UAV Engines Ltd manufacture engines and parts for Elbit drones, including the Hermes, which Elbit themselves describe as the ‘backbone’ of Israel’s drone fleet. These drones have been used to enact countless war crimes on Palestinian civillians. In reference to bombing of Gaza last May, an Israeli military general even stated “We operated day and night in cooperation with Elbit.”
Residents of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah are currently at the forefront of Israel’s settler-colonial project. This past week has seen violent arrests and the demolition of the home of one of Sheikh Jarrah’s 37 Palestinian families, with others handed cruel eviction notices. Furthermore, families are suffering harrassment, intimidation and violence at the hands of settlers and police – who are outfitted with Elbit Systems’ surveillance products. The 2021 attack on Gaza started with the ethnic cleansing of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. Elbit System’s military goods are fundamental to allowing this; Palestine Action know this and have taken action today in support of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, undermining and debasing Israel’s military production in Britain.
Two weeks, news was announced of the permanent closure of Elbit’s Oldham site. Since then, actions targetting Elbit’s factory in Shenstone have escalated, with the factory being occupied once more as part of the campaign to topple all of Elbit’s remaining factories.
A Palestine Action spokesperson has stated the following:
“Israel’s weapons trade is fundamental to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Elbit should know by now that we mean what we say: we will keep occupying, disrupting and dismantling their sites until they leave Britain for good. No matter how much security they hire, how much police priority they receive, our activists will find ways to shut them down. We’ve taken down one of their factories for good, and now we’re taking apart the rest.”
Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down and for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Activists found ‘not guilty in first ever Palestine Action trial: https://www.palestineaction.org/not-guilty/
Palestine Action shut down Elbit’s Oldham factory permanently:
Company profile on Elbit Systems, including quote by Israeli military general: https://whoprofits.org/company/elbit-systems/
Role of Elbit drone in killing of four children paying on Gaza beach in 2014: https://theintercept.com/2018/08/11/israel-palestine-drone-strike-operation-protective-edge/
More on the death and destruction inflicted by Elbit’s drones upon Gaza: https://corporatewatch.org/elbit-systems-company-profile-2/
Elbit surveillance technology for Israel’s apartheid wall: https://www.facing-finance.org/en/database/cases/elbit-systems-surveillance-system-torch-for-the-separation-barrier-in-israelpalestine/
UK Ministry of Defence signs £102 million contract with Elbit Systems UK for “sensor-to-shoot” system: https://www.army-technology.com/news/uk-mod-orders-elbit-detect-and-destroy-system/