[News] Protests close four UK factories owned by Israeli arms firm Elbit
news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 6 11:55:04 EDT 2015
Protests close four factories owned by Israeli arms firm Elbit
Hilary Aked <https://electronicintifada.net/people/hilary-aked> Activism
and BDS Beat <https://electronicintifada.net/blog/activism-and-bds-beat>
6 July 2015
Protesters today shut down four different factories owned by Israel’s
biggest arms company, Elbit Systems
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/elbit>. The protests mark the
one-year anniversary of the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza.
Police issued an injunction against protests at one of three UK sites,
a drone engine factory near Shenstone, Staffordshire. Despite this,
a number of activists have been locked-on at UAV Engines Limited
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/uav-engines-limited> (UEL) since
early this morning, blocking the road and entrance to the factory.
Hundreds of Palestine solidarity campaigners are supporting them. Police
have made at least 10 arrests.
Also in the UK, production has been halted at Elbit’s Elite KL factory
<http://www.elitekl.co.uk/military/> in Tamworth, Staffordshire. A third
Elbit-owned factory called Instro Precision
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/instro-precision> in Broadstairs,
Kent, has also been shut down. Activists are protesting on the roof of
A similar occupation took place in Melbourne, Australia
The activists accuse the company of complicity in Israel’s alleged war
crimes in Gaza.
into the UEL factory
<http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/press-release-me-let-me-go/gaza-are-israels-pilotless-drones-powered-british-made-engines> has indicated
that components made in the factory, engines for armed unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAVs, or drones), were used in Israel’s 2008-2009 attack on
Gaza. Code-named “Operation Cast Lead,” this attack killed 1,400
Palestinians in Gaza.
The UEL factory is known to export its drone engines to Israel.
The Shenstone and Broadstairs factories have been targeted by protesters
before. At the height of Israel’s 51-day assault last year, nine
protesters staged a sit-in on the roof of the UEL factory
closing it for two days in August before they were arrested. Rooftop
protesters shut down the Instro Precision factory in Kent for a day in
with no arrests made.
According to a police statement by the Shenstone factory’s general
manager, seen by The Electronic Intifada in February
protesters’ action cost the company £186,000 (almost $280,000) in lost
Yet charges of “aggravated trespass” were later dropped by the Crown
just hours before a deadline set by the court for the prosecution to
release critical documents. The evidence to be disclosed related to arms
export licences granted to UEL to send its hi-tech engines to Israel for
use in the Hermes <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/hermes> 450 drone.
The dropping of the case left Elbit factories in the UK open to direct
action such as is taking place today. Adie Mormech
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/adie-mormech>, one of the
Shenstone nine, said in February that it was a “green light for further
action” by activists against the factory.
Solidarity with Palestinians
Elly Hassan, from London Palestine Action
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/london-palestine-action>, one of
the groups coordinating today’s “Block the Factory” actions, said:
“These Israeli-owned factories are very much a part of Israel’s brutal
regime of apartheid and settler-colonialism over the Palestinian people.”
“Israel was only able to massacre thousands in Gaza last summer because
factories like these are allowed to operate and because governments such
as the UK government continue to allow arms exports to Israel,” she
“People have come here from all over the country to show their
solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and
equality and to demand that the UK government imposes a two-way military
embargo on Israel,” she continued. ”We urge people that share our
opposition to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people to join the
growing movement for a boycott of Israel.”
Last summer in Gaza Israel killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including
The 2014 assault, which Israel code named “Operation Protective Edge
left approximately 11,000 people injured, including 1,000 children left
with permanent disabilities. An estimated 18,000 homes were destroyed or
severely damaged, making 100,000 people homeless.
“Business as usual”
During the bombing, arms sales to Israel became a topic of intense
political scrutiny in the UK. Conservative government minister Sayeeda
Warsi <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/sayeeda-warsi> quit her post
in the cabinet, calling the UK government’s stance “morally indefensible.”
A report called “Arming Apartheid,” released last week
by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade
on Want <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/war-want> and the Palestine
that fresh arms exports to Israel worth nearly £4 million ($6.2 million)
- including components for drones - were approved by Britain within
weeks of the attack.
These deals show that despite Israel’s alleged war crimes, the
government’s attitude to the arms trade with Israel is “business as
usual,” they said.
The action also marks ten years since the launch of the boycott,
divestment and sanctions movement that pressures Israel to comply with
international law. In the UK, the movement is backed by major UK trade
unions, the Green Party
the National Union of Students
Recent successes include the announcement by Orange
that it intends to leave the Israeli market and the news that foreign
direct investment into Israel has dropped by almost 50 percent last year
partly due to the growth of the boycott movement.
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