FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- Palestine Action have occupied Elbit’s factory, UAV Tactical Systems in Leicester and chained the gates shut, disrupting Elbit’s production of arms and military technology.
- Activists have taken direct action in response to Elbit’s funelling of arms to the Israeli Occupation Force, which is using them to commit war crimes in Gaza.
- This action occurs during ongoing and abhorrent violence by the Israeli state in Gaza and the occupied territories, which has killed over 200, including 61 children, and wounded over 1500 in Gaza alone. With the IDF targetting civilian areas, healthcare premises and key infrastructure, the war crimes being committed rely on technology produced at Elbit sites across the UK.
In the early hours of Wednesday May 19th, Palestine Action seized control of the Leicester factory of Elbit subsidiary UAV Tactical Systems. Activists have scaled the roof, locked the factory gates, and are preventing access and stopping the production of deadly arms. The occupation is aiming to be as disruptive as possible; these activists are determined to prevent Elbit from resuming its business of bloodshed.
Over the past week, Elbit’s lethal sites have benefitted from round-the-clock police protection in the wake of escalating Israeli aggression in Gaza and the occupied territories. Elbit are evidently aware of the thousands of people who have seen the horrific events of the last week and who recognise Elbit’s abhorrent role in these war crimes. Despite increased police and private security presence, activists have successfuly taken the site.
This is the first time Palestine Action have struck at Elbit’s Leicester site. The site, run by Elbit-Thales joint venture UAV Tactical Systems, manufactures the Hermes drones used extensively by the IDF – made in Britain and used for repression in Gaza, Columbia, Azerbaijan and elsewhere. The site also produces the Watchkeeper drones employed in droves by the UK Military and Border force, having been used to inflict death upon Afghans and Iraqis and surveil refugees in the Channel.
Palestine Action will continue disrupting Elbit’s conveyor belt of death, preventing any more UK-made weaponry from finding its way into the hands of the Israeli military and its brutal police forces, where it would be used to commit even more war crimes. By succesfully acting to #ShutElbitDown these conscientious actionists have shown that the UK’s complicity in the ethnic cleansing and murder of Palestinian civilians will not stand.
Palestine Action have declared that actions will continue to escalate, stating the following:
“Today’s action shows that it is entirely within our power to stop the production of brutal machinery which is fuelling war crimes in Palestine. The past week has shown the relentless death and destruction that Israeli forces can and will inflict with UK-made munitions and military technology. It is the duty of anyone who has been rightly appalled by these atrocities to stand up and take action, to prevent the Israeli war machine receiving any more armaments produced in this country.“
The action follows waves of terror by the Israeli state. After attacking civilians in Sheikh Jarrah and worshippers in al-Aqsa mosque, leading to over 300 injuries, the IDF have launched a full scale assualt on the people of Gaza. Launching indescriminate rockets upon the already-brutalised Gazan population, Israel have killed at least 200 Palestinians including 61 children to date. They have destroyed residential tower blocks and hospitals, yesterday destroying Gaza’s only COVID-19 testing site, in actions which constitute despicable war crimes.
Elbit’s products enable the Israeli state to carry out these war crimes. While children in Gaza are murdered by bombs, and while Palestinians live in daily fear for their lives or the lives or their family members, Elbit’s profits continue to soar. Elbit drones allow the IDF to surveil and bombard Gaza; their security systems fortify the illegal walls which run through Jerusalem; their computer systems fit the gunboats enforcing the sea blockade; their baton rounds have claimed eyes and limbs of worshippers in al-Aqsa, and their technolgy ensures that missile strikes accurately wipe out their targets: children and other defenceless civilians.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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- 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.
- Palestine Action: ‘ Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah Shows Again Why Those in UK Must Take Action’ https://palestineaction.org/sheikh-jarrah-call-to-action/
- Previous (April 13-14) Palestine Action direct action held at Elbit Ferranti plant in Oldham, and Elbit’s Bristol HQ:https://palestineaction.org/palestine-action-strikes-again/ https://palestineaction.org/five-arrested/
- Other previous Palestine Action actions:
- For rolling updates on today’s action please check the Palestine Action Twitter account
- 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/