[News] The makers of Israel's deadly drones continue to evade British justice

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Tue Mar 29 07:40:56 EDT 2022


middleeastmonitor.com
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220328-the-makers-of-israels-deadly-drones-continue-to-evade-british-justice/>
The makers of Israel's deadly drones continue to evade British justice
Yvonne Ridley - March 28, 2022

It's impossible to pick out one single act of brutality committed by
Israel's occupation forces over another, because there have been so many in
eight decades of the Palestinian struggle for survival. Each atrocity bears
the hallmarks of a crime against humanity: Deir Yassin in 1948 — at least
107 Palestinians slaughtered by Zionist terrorists; Qibya, 1953 — at least
69 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers led by Ariel Sharon; Kafr Qasim,
1956 — 48 Palestinians killed by Israeli police; Bahr El-Baqar Primary
School, 1970 — 46 Egyptian children killed; Sabra and Shatila, 1982 — up to
3,500 Palestinian refugees killed by Israel's allies, although Israel's own
inquiry put the blame on Ariel Sharon — yes, him again — and the Israel
Defence Forces; and Wehda Street, Gaza, 2021 — residential street bombed by
Israel, 44 Palestinians killed. These are all examples and a far from
complete list of the massacres of innocent civilians by Israel.

One of these which stands out for me is the slaughter of four schoolboys
aged ten and eleven years as they played football on the beach in Gaza in
2014. The war crime — what else can you call a missile attack on children
playing in the sand? — unfolded in front of representatives of the world's
media who witnessed the killing
<https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/world/middleeast/gaza-strip-beach-explosion-kills-children.html>
of the Bakr family cousins.

We now know that the children were killed by missiles launched from an
armed drone
<https://theintercept.com/2018/08/11/israel-palestine-drone-strike-operation-protective-edge/>;
possibly even a drone containing parts manufactured in Britain. That is
just one of the reasons why activists belonging to Palestine Action target
drone factories in Britain owned by Elbit, Israel's largest private arms
manufacturer and supplier.

*READ: Israel: 83% of Palestinian citizens have experienced state racism
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220322-israel-83-of-palestinian-citizens-have-experienced-state-racism/>*

It may also be the reason why not one single activist from the group has
ever been convicted of a crime despite being arrested and charged by the
police. It is possible that the arms manufacturers do not want to give
evidence in a British court which would expose for all to see how they
knowingly sell their deadly products to armies that deploy and use their
weapons against civilians, especially Palestinian civilians.

The effective direct activism of Palestine Action was rewarded earlier this
year when news emerged
<https://mondoweiss.net/2022/01/victory-in-oldham-elbit-forced-to-sell-ferranti-after-sustained-direct-action-campaign/>
about the closure of the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
Elbit sold Ferranti technologies, because its operations in Oldham became
unfeasible. Over an 18-month period, campaigners occupied, blockaded,
smashed, disrupted and protested regularly at the site, and succeeded in
ending Elbit's production of specialist military technologies for Israel's
fleet of combat drones.

Not content with resting on their laurels, activists returned to the site
of Elbit System's UAV Tactical Systems drone factory just outside Leicester
on Monday morning. They pledged not to leave until Elbit is shut down for
good.

Raiding the site at dawn, the activists halted operations by using a van to
block the factory gates. Their direct action tactics stopped the
manufacture of Elbit's Hermes/Watchkeeper drones, which are sold to the
Israeli military and on to other countries after being "battle tested" on
Palestinian civilians. Today's action marks another escalation in the
campaign to #ShutElbitDown, renewing the occupations of drone factories to
force the closure of more sites operated by Elbit. Palestine Action says
that it will continue this direct action until the company has ceased all
operations in the United Kingdom.

*READ: Israel: soldiers in occupied West Bank told to gather data about
Palestinians
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220324-israel-soldiers-in-occupied-west-bank-told-to-gather-data-about-palestinians/>*

While the Leicestershire Police were duty bound to do something about the
protesters, and they duly arrested them, it would be encouraging if a
British police force — London's Metropolitan Police, for example — could
investigate the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity
levelled at Israel; then arrest the people in this country who aid and abet
such crimes. Britain has a universal jurisdiction law, but it is never used
to prosecute Israelis. Indeed, the Conservative government changed the law
<https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/may/30/change-universal-jurisdiction-law>
to make it easier for Israeli politicians to enter Britain without the
threat of prosecution. But what about the makers of weapons, such as Elbit,
used in war crimes and crimes against humanity? Why is nothing done about
them?

People who break the law in order to prevent a greater crime from being
committed should be applauded and not arrested. Somebody in Israel has yet
to be held to account for the killing of the Gaza schoolboys and the
thousands of other civilian victims of Israel's brutal military occupation.
Israel's allies, including those in Britain, also continue to evade
justice. It is time for police officers to be investigating them rather
than the activists involved in relatively petty vandalism and damage to
property.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.
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