Middle East Monitor / November 2, 2020
Factories belonging to Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, Elbit system, woke up this morning to groups of protesters demanding their closure. Protests led by the direct action campaign group Palestine Action, were organised to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917, which the campaign group say had “paved the way for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the violent dispossession of 750,000 Palestinian.”
Activists simultaneously blocked Elbit’s many subsidiaries in the UK forcing three of their weapons factories to shut down. They sprayed red paint on the premises in what looks to be a symbol of Palestinian blood spilled by weapons manufactured by the firm. The activists claim that Elbit weapons are marketed as “field tested” on Palestinian civilians, notably Gazans who are mostly children and refugees.
Palestine Action claims that Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer is producing ever-more lethal weaponry on British soil, supplying the world’s most notorious repressive regimes, including India’s current occupation of Kashmir.
They also claim that both the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, as well as the UK police, have been trialling Elbit’s drones to mass-surveil large stretches of our coastline, in line with the Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s, militarisation of the English Channel.
The EU’s border agency Frontex is also said to have contracted Elbit to surveil the Mediterranean, leaving the lives of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, fleeing war torn countries, in mortal danger.
Elbit Systems is also accused of playing a key role in the development of Trump’s militarised US/Mexico border wall, while the very same technologies are also being used to securitise and control the native O’odham people on Arizona’s indigenous reserve.
Palestine Action says that it is “a new grassroots network of anti-racist groups and individuals taking direct action to end UK complicity with Israel’s colonial and Apartheid regime.”
The group claims to have targeted Elbit over 40 times, and has promised to “routinely, systematically, continue to escalate its actions until the British Government and this evil arms company can no longer profit from the death of Palestinian civilians.”
“The ultimate aim is to shut Elbit down and end all UK complicity with Israeli apartheid.”