By Eliza Egret
Activists targeted Israeli arms company Elbit Systems’ UK headquarters early on 30 July. Elbit staff came to work to find the building covered in graffiti and splattered with paint. The action comes on the same day that a new network called Palestine Action was launched.
Palestine Action is made up of direct action groups and activists from all over the UK. The network explains that:
We have come together to promote civil disobedience and take direct action against the companies and institutions that Israel uses to violently enforce apartheid, occupation and colonisation on the people of Palestine.
“We are tired of being ignored”
For many years, activists from all over the country have taken direct action against companies which are complicit in the occupation of Palestine. Drone manufacturer Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest privately owned arms company. It has four arms factories in the UK which have been targeted a number of times before.
Palestine Action says:
Gaza’s skies are filled with unpiloted killer drones, controlled by soldiers who never see the lives they are destroying. Israeli companies like Elbit Systems sell their weapons as ‘battle tested’, on a population of Gaza that is mostly children.
Meanwhile, activists have previously targeted and temporarily shut down factories of British bulldozer company JCB. The firm continues to supply its equipment to Israel for the demolition of Palestinian homes, despite being named and shamed on a UN list of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.
Despite activists’ attempts to expose the collusion of these companies, their actions have been met with silence. So Palestine Action says:
We are tired of being ignored.
It is up to all of us to stop this complicity. We must continue to take action, not tomorrow, but today and now. Together we are stronger.
A sense of urgency
There is a growing sense of urgency among Palestine solidarity activists in the UK. Israel is making the theft of the Jordan Valley official and will annex Israel’s illegal colonies.
The launch of Palestine Action comes just two months after the launch of a new student network called Apartheid Off Campus. Students from all over the UK are taking action to end the complicity between UK universities and Israeli apartheid. Both Palestine Action and Apartheid Off Campus are non-hierarchical and focused on getting concrete results as a matter of urgency.
You can take action
Palestine Action is calling for people to join the network. It says:
Palestine Action calls for all those who oppose racism and oppression to join our struggle. We will not rest until the Palestinian people get the rights and dignity we all deserve: for liberation from Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonialism. We call on all those who support justice and equality to join our movement, get active with us, and help to build a campaign capable of ending the UK’s complicity in apartheid.
The UK continues to arm Israel to the teeth. It has licensed more than £376 million of arms since 2015. Isn’t it time that we all said “enough is enough”?
Featured image via activists, with permission
- Go to Palestine Action to find out how you can get involved in your area.
- If you’re a student, visit Apartheid Off Campus and take action at your university.