Public figures call on UK not to prosecute pro-Palestine activists

Middle East Monitor  /  July 5, 2023

Almost 80 public figures, including members of the European Parliament, screenwriters, lecturers, musicians, writers and journalists, have signed an open letter calling on the UK to release detained Palestine Action protesters who “sacrificed their liberty to challenge colonial violence”.

The protesters were arrested while obstructing the entrances to several sites belonging to Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, in the UK. Elbit, the letter says, manufactures “an array of weaponry, including drones equipped with payloads”, and “profit from the captive population of Palestine — they have turned civilians into a human laboratory, where experimental weaponry can be tested, improved on, and then marketed as “field-proven” and branded as “battle-tested”. surveillance technology and components for tanks and fighter jets.”

The signatories, who include Palestinian writer and activist Mohammed El-Kurd and musicians Roger Waters and Lowkey, added: “We demand the charges are dropped against those already incarcerated and at risk of prison over their work to disrupt the criminal production of Israeli weapons on British soil.

“We stand with those who have sacrificed their liberty to challenge colonial violence and we call on others to do the same until they, and the Palestinian people, are free.”

Steps taken by Palestine Action, the letter continued, “have resulted in the closing down of two of Elbit’s sites, and the loss of millions of pounds through the severance of MoD contracts. Palestine Action has inspired local communities across the country to rise up against these immoral factories which profit from the business of war and destruction.”

In spite of this, the UK government “has decided to prioritize its interests in protecting the military supply chain of a foreign apartheid state by incarcerating its own people.”

“The heroes who have taken courageous action to expose and dismantle Britain’s role in the colonization of Palestine should be celebrated and rewarded, not imprisoned. We therefore call for the release of all Palestine Action political prisoners, and for the charges to be dropped.”

Signatories to the letter also include British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi, lawyer and winner of the Palestine Book Award 2019 Academic Award, Professor Noura Erakat, and 2020 Creative Award Winner Susan Abulhawa, in addition to CAGE Director Moazzam Begg, MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly and academic David Miller, who was fired from Bristol University following a campaign by the Israel lobby over his criticism of the Zionist state.