Palestine Action activists have once again turned to Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems’ (Israel’s largest arms company) UAV Engines LTD., an important component in the company’s British operations and manufacture of military UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). One activist has glued onto the factory wall whilst positioned on the fence, whilst others held their guard against security. Blood red paint was hurled at the security office, emblematic of Elbit’s business being built on the immiseration of Palestinians. The activists disrupted site production and with it, the manufacture of drones destined for Israel.
Palestine Action recently celebrated its two-year anniversary. In its two years of operating, the group has permanently closed two Elbit sites through direct action and is now looking to close a third, as action is once again taken at Elbit’s factory in Shenstone. The site has been hit by Palestine Action’s direct action and local community protests six times in the last five weeks.
UAV Engines LTD. has faced regular action from Palestine Action throughout the group’s two-year existence. Inside the factory are produced the engines of Elbit drones – including the Hermes 450/900, put to use on the populations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, and the theWatchkeeperdrone, modelled on the former and sold to both the UK Border Patrol for surveillance purposes in the English Channel, and being trialled by the British Police for domestic surveillance of citizens.
A Palestine Action spokesperson said, “When we strike at Elbit, we challenge not only the colonial violence they are responsible for but also the violence of borders and policing. They ravage countries, forcing citizens to flee – then when they try and seek sanctuary in Britain, they face surveillance at the border, aided by Elbit technlogies.”
One activist was quoted as saying, “The cases of Khalil Awawdeh and Ahmed Mansara, in particular, have spurred me to take up direct action. Khalil is a father of four, suffering brain damage after 155 days on hunger strike against Israel’s punitive use of administrative detention, whereby prisoners are held without trial, without charge, indefinitely. Manasra, only 20, was arrested at 13 and has spent a third of his life in Israeli prisons, in solitary confinement – violently torn from his loved ones as a child, caged and isolated. I stand with Khalil, Ahmed, and all Palestinian prisoners, and against those that enable this terror in Palestine.”
Image by Neil Terry