Freedom News

Palestine Action slam into Shenstone’s Israeli arms factory

Palestine Action activists have, this morning, pulled a van alongside Elbit Systems UAV Engines weapons factory. From inside the vehicle, they climbed on top to raise the Palestinian flag, whilst the driver locked on to the steering wheel to secure their position. Shortly after, they were confronted by scores of Elbit’s private security and police. In total, four were arrested after taking action against the Israeli weapons factory.  

Elsewhere, activists in central Birmingham performed a banner drop with the Palestinian and Kashmiri flags, highlighting the shared plight of the two populations under military occupations using Elbit weaponry.

Today’s action comes amidst Israeli army invasions and settler riots in the West Bank, with Palestinians being subjected to brutal attacks, by both Israeli military and settlers. In Nablus, last week’s military invasion killed 11 and injured over 100 Palestinians, while settlers later terrorised the town of Huwara, and elsewhere in the West Bank, burning down 35 Palestinian homes, and killing one Palestinian. These attacks have been carried out with either the explicit or implicit support of the occupation regime’s cabinet ministers, with Israel’s finance minister calling for Huwara to be ‘wiped out of the earth’.

Palestine Actionist action at UAV Engines, Shenstone 02/03/23

UAV Engines in Shenstone is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons company. Elbit Systems are the majority provider of weaponry to the Israeli military – supplying 85% of its drones and land-based military equipment, including a vast range of surveillance, munitions, ammunition, software and other military technologies. Their Shenstone subsidiary specialises in making engines for military drones, which Elbit openly market as ‘battle-tested’ or ‘combat-proven’ on the Palestinian people. Publicly available information demonstrates the site is directly used for the supply of weapons to Israel, as shown in its ML10 and ML11 export licenses held for sales to Israel of drones and military electronics .

Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone is powered by a Wankel-style engine made by UAV Engines Ltd in Shenstone, and has been used to surveil and attack the people of Gaza for over a decade, decimating thousands of lives. Israel admitted in July 2022 that its Hermes 450 drones are armed, with this fact being described as “Israel’s worst kept secret” by Israeli TV Channel i24 News.

Announcing a new phase of the campaign against Elbit Systems, Palestine Action have declared a ‘siege‘ against Elbit’s Leicester drone factory from May 1st. The mass action will include hundreds staying put for weeks on end, through day and night, refusing to leave until Elbit does.

People in the West Midlands who reject British complicity in Israeli apartheid are invited to join this siege. To build up to it, Palestine Action will be hosting a talk on ‘How to Shut Elbit Down’ in Birmingham on Sunday March 5th, at the Warehouse, Allison Street, between 3:00 and 5:00pm. Speakers will include rapper-activist Lowkey, arms trade expert Andrew Feinstein, and representatives from Palestine Action. Similar talks are planned across the country in the upcoming weeks.

Palestine Actionist action at UAV Engines, Shenstone 02/03/23

Image: Martin Pope

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