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Palestine Action disrupts exclusive arms industry dinner

While weapons industry representatives, government figures and other arms trade stakeholders convened in London for the TechUK’s ‘Defence Winter Dinner’, Palestine Action were busy adding themselves to the guest list.

Six activists crashed the prestigious venue to disrupt the event and expose the guests facilitation of death and destruction in Palestine and elsewhere. Once inside London’s five-star Landmark Hotel Grand Ballroom, activists took to the stage, raised the Palestine flag, set off smoke flares and stated:

“While you sip champagne, people in Palestine and Kashmir mourn the blood spilt from the weapons that you help to make. All of you here today, are literally making a killing-out-of-killing and Palestine Action are here to make sure you do not get away with it.”

As a member of techUK, Israel’s largest arms company Elbit Systems was the primary reason for activists to bombard this annual black-tie event. All the guests and delegates attending, wherever they were from, were equally important targets; each playing a part in fuelling imperialism and sustaining the global war industry.

While Elbit supplies the vast majority of Israel’s drone fleet and helps maintain and grow its illegal apartheid wall, it is also a key supplier of oppressive surveillance equipment, military hardware and lethal munitions for the Israeli occupation forces.

Israel’s weapons factories and administrative sites in Britain, of which there are 8 remaining, have been subject to an intensive direct action campaign by Palestine Action for over two years. The campaign to shut Elbit down was responsible for the permanent closure of two of their British sites in Oldham and London.

Activists are not content with only shutting Elbit’s factories down. They are also seeking to undermine the company’s business relationships with other industries, individuals, companies and government networks involved in the business of war.

Last week it was revealed that Elbit have been fired from two major contracts by the UK Ministry of Defence worth over £280 million. TechUK branded this dinner as “a prime place to engage with the techUK defence community – individuals, businesses and serving personnel brought together through common interests and goals. Our defence dinners are always very popular with members, civil servants, and members of the armed forces alike”. 

The event was sponsored by DXC Technology — a company providing information technology to the Israeli Civil Administration Headquarters, to help facilitate the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine — tens of hundreds of Palestinian homes are being destroyed every year to make way for new illegal Israeli settlement expansion. DXC products are also being used in the ‘Rolling Stone’ project, which allow Israel’s border authorities to surveil and monitor the Palestinian people round-the-clock through the use of biometric scanners.

Elbit will have welcomed the ‘Defence Winter Dinner’ as an opportunity to cement new ‘friendly’ ties within the British defence community — exactly why disruption of the event was necessary — to expose them, their funders, stakeholders and partners, for what they are: war criminals.

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