Three activists have been indicted for participating in a protest at Elbit Systems of America in Merrimack, New Hampshire last November. Elbit is Israel’s largest private arms supplier. Sophie Ross, Bridget Shergalis, and Calla Walsh are facing charges of riot, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, burglary, and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence for climbing onto the company’s roof and defacing the building with paint. Each charge is a Class B felony and could carry a three-and-a-half to seven-year prison sentence. A fourth woman, Paige Belanger, was arrested in January over her involvement in the protest.
Palestine Action targeted two companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza on Wednesday 14 February – shutting down one completely and shaming the other by painting it blood-red. First, and the group “drenched” the Manchester offices of Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon in red paint, to symbolise the bank’s complicity in Palestinian bloodshed. Activists also sprayed a message calling for Elbit to be shut down: BNY Mellon invest over £10m in Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems, which provides 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet and land based equipment, as well as missiles, bullets, and other weaponry. Speaking of Elbit, Palestine Action did actually shut Elbit down too in 14 February.
First, Palestine Action targeted logistics companies belonging to Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) and Palletline on 17 January, as part of a widespread direct action campaign against Israel’s biggest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, and the companies which facilitate their weapons manufacturing in Britain and their arms exports to Israel. K+N’s Milton Keynes branch and their subsidiary in London, Nacaro cargo insurance, were targeted overnight. At the company’s Milton Keynes industrial site, which specialises in road transportation, activists sprayed the entire front of the building in blood-red paint and shattered windows.
In a landmark case, eight Palestine Action activists who used direct action to shut down the Israeli weapons trade have been acquitted of a total 12 charges which included criminal damage, burglary and encouraging criminal damage. The trial, which commenced on 13 November, related to a series of actions taken during the first six months of Palestine Action’s existence from July 2020 to January 2021. Richard Barnard, co-founder of Palestine Action, was convicted by a 10-2 majority of one count of criminal damage, for an action at the now-closed Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham. At least one member of jury later asked if they could change their verdict, but were prohibited from doing so. Lawyers will be considering appealing this conviction.
Palestine Action has received confirmation that the property managers for Elbit Systems’ Shenstone drone factory, Fisher German, have cut ties with the Israeli arms manufacturer. Having sent confirmation to Palestine Action by email yesterday, Fisher German’s decision follows on the tail of a similar announcement by Elbit’s former recruiters iO Associates, who dropped Israel’s largest weapons maker after a campaign by the direct action network. The real estate giant confirmed that they no longer hold any ties to Elbit Systems or the site of their subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd (UEL), in Shenstone.
After weeks of action, the sole recruiters for the British operations of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, have confirmed via email to Palestine Action that they ended their association with Elbit on the evening of the 29th November. For two months, activists in the Palestine Action network had disrupted iO Associates at their premises across the country, to impede their ability to recruit roles for Israel’s war machine. iO Associates recruited the likes of engineers, software developers, and finance staff for positions across the sites of the British branch of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems.
The British state – and quite possibly its Israeli counterpart – are attempting to shut down Palestine Action. Since its founding in 2020, the activist group has launched hundreds of operations against arms factories across the United Kingdom, especially Israeli ones. Its goal is to break British complicity in the Israeli military-industrial complex. Palestine Action has already caused serious economic damage to companies like Elbit Systems. Joining Lowkey on this edition of “The Watchdog” is returning guest Huda Amori. Born in the U.K., Amori is a Palestinian-Iraqi whose father was chased out of his home by Israeli soldiers in 1967 and forced to flee without even a pair of shoes.
This morning, three simultaneous actions have targeted weapons factories across Britain, to prevent the production of weaponry destined for use by Israel in their ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people. While Israel’s Instro Precision in Kent has been met with a 100-person-strong blockade, a lock-on and a rooftop occupation disrupted Leicester’s UAV Tactical Systems and Howmet Fastening Systems. At the Instro Precision factory in Sandwich, over 100 people have descended on the site, to blockade the two entrances to the Discovery Park business area. The site, which has faced protests for years and has previously been occupied by Palestine Action, has been forced closed.
Just 12 hours after the Israeli regime massacred at least 500 wounded, starving, and displaced Palestinians in Gaza’s Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in a targeted missile strike, activists have breached and shut down the Leicester factory of Israel’s drone supplier Elbit, outfitters of the Israeli military regime. These bombing attacks serve a singular purpose, being designed to remove as much Palestinian life as possible from Gaza, and are made possible with Western-made weapons and technologies. This includes the military drone technologies which Elbit’s UAV Tactical Systems, based in Braunstone Town, Leicester, has regularly exported to the occupation military.
Today, Palestine Action sprayed the BBC’s Headquarters with blood red paint, in response to it’s recent coverage of Palestine, which has been complicit in manufacturing consent for the occupation’s genocide of Palestinians. The action occurred before a protest for Palestine was due to begin at the BBC HQ. Since October 7th, the BBC has given biased and inaccurate reporting on the Israeli massacre of the Palestinian people. It has only ever invited Palestinians to comment when Israelis are killed, with little regard for Palestinians killed by Israel, such as in the case of Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot who was expected to condemn Israeli deaths immediately after informing the BBC he had lost 6 family members.
On Thursday 5th October 2023, a jury unanimously found an activist from Palestine Action, Sohail Sultan, not guilty of criminal damage against Arconic at the closing of a trial overseen by Judge S Ward at Wolverhampton Crown Court. They took 3 hours and 25 minutes to deliberate on whether the action taken which cost Arconic over £500K was done to protect property in Palestine and/or in necessity to save lives. The verdict comes after the activist occupied the roof for two days and dismantled the site on the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell fire, in solidarity with the victims of the fire and the Palestine people.
Today, Palestine Action crashed the DroneX Trade Show & Conference at ExCel London, advertised as ‘Europe’s Largest Business Event Dedicated to the UAV industry’. During a keynote speech by Dave Drewitt (Head of Sales and Business Development at Thales’ ‘Flight Avionics’) on ‘Sharing Skies – Enabling Safe & Secure Drone Operations’, activists took to the stage to highlight the hypocrisy of the talk and raise the Palestinian flag. Exposing Thales’ role in facilitating crimes against the Palestinian people through their manufacture of Israeli drones, activists made clear that no apartheid-supplying business has the right to lecture on safe & secure drone operations.
While senior representatives of the world’s largest arms firms convened at the ‘International Composites Summit 2023’ to discuss “cost-effective” weaponry components , Palestine Action snuck their way in and crashed the event. Once inside the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, four activists took over the stage to disrupt the marketing of ‘genocide’ as a tool to be bought-and-sold to annihilate the Palestinian people. Activists over-spoke the corporate speeches and raised the Palestinian flag, stating: “You are all war criminals. We’re making a stand against you and your weapons of death.
Another year of Palestine Action; three years of sustained and effective direct action against Elbit Systems. Three years of mobilising and enabling the masses to strike back and refuse passivity. Three years of radical action and engaging collective power. Three years of unstoppable momentum, victories and, as a direct result, increased attempts by the state to quash the movement. This time, last year, our second anniversary report  was buzzing over the two Elbit closures, announced in quick succession at the start of 2022. We’re still incredibly proud of the victories at Oldham and Kingsway. They have not lost their zest because they represent, particularly in Oldham, the successful nurturing and building of community.
Two days ago, Palestine Action blocked the sewage pipes leading to Leicester’s Israeli weapons factory, UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS). In a new tactic, activists used concrete and other materials to create a blockage in the pipes to disrupt the operation of the factory. The action was not publicised at its inception, leaving the factory unaware of their new plumbing problems. Since the obstruction of the pipes, two vans belonging to the factory’s estate’s management firm, Precision Facilities Management, have entered the premises. The action took place as part of the ongoing siege against the weapons factory, which began on May 1st, over two months ago.