Palestine Action Raid And Dismantle An Israeli Arms Factory

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.

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Palestine Action Targets Another Israeli Arms Factory After Forcing Elbit Out Of Oldham

Palestine Action breached security and gained entry to the heavily guarded Israeli arms factory in Shenstone. The site, used for the manufacture of engines and components for Elbit’s murderous drones, was broken into at 11:00 this morning, with the two women evading an extensive security presence. Aiming to disrupt operations at the site, the activists have covered the factory in painted slogans including ‘Shut Elbit Down’, ‘Free Palestine’, ‘First Oldham, Next Shenstone’. One activist was arrested on the site.

The site has been targeted as part of an ongoing campaign of direct action against Elbit Systems, which is Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer, and which has produced 85% of the drones in Israel’s drone fleet. The UAV Engines factory is crucial for Elbit’s manufacturing of drones.

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Palestine Action Acquitted In First Trial

United Kingdom – Three activists who defaced an Israeli drone engines factory in the UK were found not guilty of criminal damage on Monday.

The two-day trial took place at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates Court, near Stoke-on-Trent in central England.

Palestine Action co-founder Huda Ammori told The Electronic Intifada that the victory showed they were on the right track.

“We’re going to continue to take direct action in order to shut down and undermine Israel’s arms trade,” she said.

It was reassuring to have court backing for taking action against Israeli arms makers, she added, and that “to disrupt them and throw red paint over their buildings is something that’s perfectly within our rights to do.”

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Governments Buy More Weapons In First Year Of COVID-19

In 2020, when the global economy contracted over 3.1% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global arms trade recorded an increase of 1.3%, as per latest data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday, December 6. The growth in arms trade, both domestic and international, reveals how governments worldwide chose to maintain or increase their spending on arms despite the economic hardships caused by the pandemic. 

According to SIPRI, arms trade by the world’s top 100 companies in the sector touched USD 531 billion in 2020, making it the sixth consecutive year of growth since 2015.

According to Alexander Marksteiner, a researcher with SIPRI, the main reason for the growth in arms trade in spite of the global economic slump was “sustained government demand for military goods and services.”

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Raising Awareness Of Israeli War Crimes, With Palestine Action

In this interview, Lowkey speaks to the co-founders of Palestine Action, Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard, both of whom have been arrested for their anti-Apartheid activism. Ammori is a Palestinian-Iraqi whose father was chased from his home by Israeli soldiers in 1967. He was forced to flee to Iraq without even a pair of shoes.

The pair discussed what they were trying to achieve with their disruptive tactics and the legal basis for their actions. As Ammori told Lowkey:

People often think when we do these things that we are doing it to defy the law or breaking the law in the process. But we would always say that we’re not breaking the law; what we’re doing is actually rooted in law; it is a lawful act to do something to prevent the greater crime — to act to save lives.

In 2006, at the height of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, nine activists in Northern Ireland forced their way into the offices of Raytheon, a major arms manufacturer.

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Palestine Action Targets The Landlords Of War Criminals

Palestine Action have taken action at the London offices of LaSalle Investment Management, and at two other sites of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), demanding an end to their facilitation of Elbit Systems’ contributions to Israeli war crimes. Elbit Systems’  drones, military hardware, surveillance tech and more are used extensively in Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people, and their UK headquarters is in LaSalle’s building at 77 Kingsway, London. This operational hub is where Elbit’s manufacturing of drones and arms in Britain is organised, with LaSalle thus complicit in the war crimes committed with these products.

JLL and LaSalle have declined to respond to repeated requests to evict Elbit or to recognise the role Elbit plays in repression of Palestinians.

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Nonviolent Jousting With Northrop Grumman

Under the aegis of Baltimore Peace Action, twelve stalwarts left Baltimore on September 3 to take on weapons contractor Northrop Grumman.  If Sancho Panza were with us, he would have described our journey to Linthicum Heights, Maryland as foolish and nonsensical.  How dare this group to think it could joust with a giant weapons contractor which has great influence in Congress, in the Pentagon and even in the White House?  Nevertheless, armed with signs, a Veterans for Peace flag, chunks of watermelon, Pellegrino water and a letter to CEO Jackie Warden, we arrived at a corporate office.  Our signs carried messages which were in the letter:  Say No to Northrop Grumman, Northrop Grumman Profits from War, Stop Buying Legislators and Close the Revolving Door.

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Protestors Block Entrances To Raytheon Plant Over Weapon Sales

US protestors early Thursday morning blocked the entrance to Raytheon’s facility in Portsmouth in protest of weapon sales to Israel.

Members of the FANG Collective, a Pawtucket-based group that organized the protest, along with Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex (RAM INC), said that they were protesting Raytheon’s weapon sales to Israel, among others. The protest saw several people chaining themselves to cars to block the front gate and others holding banners and chanting slogans.

FANG said in a press statement that they shut down all vehicle entrances to Raytheon’s facility as two people attached themselves to vehicles that were blocking the main entrance to the facility.

Police said that they called the Portsmouth Fire Department to release the two men after they refused to do so themselves. The two men were eventually arrested.

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Activists Challenge Subsidies For Weapons Maker

On a warm Saturday morning in May, a group of demonstrators gathered in a public square in Asheville, North Carolina, for the kind of protest lawmakers don’t usually foresee when they haggle for a share of the United States’ massive military budget to be spent in their home districts. The environmentalists, anti-war veterans, and economic justice advocates go by the name Reject Raytheon AVL, a reference to Massachusetts-based Raytheon Technologies, the world’s second-largest weapons maker. A division of the company, Pratt & Whitney, is building a new engine parts plant in their city, and the protesters oppose the millions of dollars in subsidies their county and state governments have committed to Raytheon, arguing the money should instead support green jobs.

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Elbit Tamworth Shut Down For The Third Time

Action follows brutalisation of Palestinians by Israeli forces over the weekend, with almost 400 injured as live ammunition was used against Palestinians protesting illegal land confiscation in the West Bank. Elbit’s technologies are central to the surveillance and repression of Palestinians in the occupied territories

This action is the third time that Palestine Action have occupied the site since February 2021, with the site being guarded by significantly heightened security. Today’s action – as with all Palestine Action occupations – intends to be as disruptive as possible to the flow of arms to Israel

At 6:00am on Monday 12th July, Palestine Action activists stormed the site of Elbit subsidiary Elite KL in Tamworth, Staffordshire, in order to prevent the manufacture of military hardware central to Israel’s ongoing repression of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

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What We Know About Bombs Being Dropped In Our Name

At some point before the summer of 2018, an arms deal from the US to Saudi Arabia was sealed and delivered. A 227kg laser-guided bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of many thousands, was part of that sale. On August 9th, 2018 one of those Lockheed Martin bombs was dropped on a school bus full of Yemeni children. They were on their way to a field trip when their lives came to a sudden end. Amidst shock and grief,  their loved ones  would learn that Lockheed Martin was responsible for creating the bomb that murdered their children.

What they might not know is that the United States government (the President and the State Department) approved the sale of the bomb that killed their children, in the process enriching Lockheed Martin, which makes millions in profits from arms sales every year.

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Solidarity With Palestine Activists Being Prosecuted

On Wednesday, six activists from the Palestine Action campaign appeared at Highbury Magistrates Court charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage and burglary, in connection with their actions at the London headquarters of Israeli arms company Elbit Systems last year.

Outside the court room around a dozen protesters representing various groups showed up in solidarity while inside, the judge committed the case to trial at Crown Court.

Elbit Systems has been the target for direct actions at various sites around the UK, but back in 2016, after their Shenstone factory was closed down by occupiers, the company decided not to appear in court at the last moment and the trial collapsed.

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Palestine Action Co-Founder Arrested For Blackmail

Palestine Action co-founder Richard Goddard was arrested for blackmail on 3 February, just days after the group launched a joint action with Extinction Rebellion that shut down the premises of Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems.

The arrest, which was filmed, took place at around 3pm and Goddard was taken to Fresh Wharf Custody Base, London. Both he and co-founder Huda Ammori reportedly had their passports seized during the raid. Palestine Action has accused the police of ‘harassment.

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