Two days ago, Palestine Action blocked the sewage pipes leading to Leicester’s Israeli weapons factory, UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS). In a new tactic, activists used concrete and other materials to create a blockage in the pipes to disrupt the operation of the factory. The action was not publicised at its inception, leaving the factory unaware of their new plumbing problems. Since the obstruction of the pipes, two vans belonging to the factory’s estate’s management firm, Precision Facilities Management, have entered the premises.
The action took place as part of the ongoing siege against the weapons factory, which began on May 1st, over two months ago. The siege has used a diversity of tactics deployed to pressure the weapons factory to vacate Leicester, including blockades, camping on site, targeting their partners, mobilising the local community and now Palestine Action is interfering with Elbit’s plumbing.
Elsewhere, activists targeted Keysight Technologies in Telford, a key partner of U-TacS, who are often seen delivering materials to the Leicester factory. The activists poured a subtance into Keysight’s external air conditioning units and left a spray painted message saying “For Jenin”.
UAV Tactical Systems, is majority owned by Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, who often market their weapons as “battle-tested” after being used against the Palestinian people. Elbit supply 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet and land-based equipment. Recently, the Israeli military launched air strikes and ground raids against Jenin refugee camp, murdering 13 Palestinians and displacing thousands more, in the largest attack on the camp since 2002.
In Leicester, and in Elbit’s seven other remaining sites in Britain, weaponry is being manufactured and exported to Israel. Leicester’s UAV Tactical Systems’ flagship product, the Watchkeeper drone, has also been used extensively by the British military in Iraq, Afghanistan, and over the English Channel – the Watchkeeper is modelled on the notorious and deadly Hermes drone, openly marketed as ‘battle-tested’ on the captive Palestinian population. On 21st June 2023, an Elbit Hermes 450 drone was used to extrajudicially assassinate three Palestinians in Jenin, and is often linked to documented assaults on the Palestinian people.