Shutting down both Elbit’s Shenstone weapons factory and their Bristol Headquarters, Palestine Action is occupying the roof of UAV Engines Ltd. (UEL) and blockading the private road leading to Elbit’s HQ. The actions are part of their ongoing direct action campaign to close Israeli weapons makers and end British complicity in the genocide of the Palestinian people.
In Shenstone, Staffordshire, activists are in a prime position on top of the factory’s secondary unit, dismantling the premises and halting all engine production for Israel’s killer drones. The factory is a crucial subsidiary of Elbit because it produces the engine for the Hermes 450 drone, said to be the ‘backbone’ of the Israeli military drone fleet. Whilst UEL has historically attempted to deny their involvement in the genocide of the Palestinian people, an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) exposed that the company holds a non-disclosure agreement with the Israeli military. The ICO also forced the company to disclose numerous licenses to export weaponry to Israel for use by their military.
Meanwhile, in Bristol, activists have attached themselves to entirely blockade the private road in the Aztec West estate, forcing the operations HQ, which has become Elbit’s central British hub since Palestine Action forced the closure of their London headquarters last year. This action, therefore, hits at the heart of Elbit’s strategic centre to obstruct business as usual. Previously, activists from Palestine Action smashed into the side and occupied the inside in May 2022 to mark 74 years since the Nakba (The Catastrophe) began.
Elbit Systems supplies 85% of Israel’s drone fleet and 85% of its land-based military equipment and is vital in the state terror inflicted on Palestine. These actions happen at a time when Israel is mounting a campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing, bombarding Gaza and killing over 8,306 people, 40% of whom are children. Last week, the Israeli Air Force announced its first use of Elbit’s ‘Iron Sting‘ mortar bomb on Gaza, a weapon which can penetrate double-reinforced concrete from a range of 12 kilometres. Medical teams in Gaza have reported seeing unusually severe burns on the bodies of Palestinians who have been killed or wounded by Israeli strikes and have related these injuries to new weapons used by the Israeli military.