The Scotland factory of Leonardo UK, responsible for manufacturing the laser targeting systems of Israel’s fighter jets, has been shut down today as several activists have scaled, commenced occupation of, and are dismantling the premises. The group, Palestine Action Scotland, have immobilised the site and halted operations in accordance with Palestinian calls for the end to the arming of Israel.
Leonardo UK’s “high energy military laser” targeting systems, fitted to Israel’s F-35s and manufactured in Edinburgh, are being used to direct bombings of hospitals, schools, and critical infrastructure. As the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza tops 11,000, activists have this morning reminded Leonardo of the blood on their hands and will maintain the occupation of the factory for as long as is possible to render it incapable of providing more weaponry to Israel. The company is deeply complicit in the ongoing genocide, and – besides their Edinburgh-made laser targets – Leonardo furthermore supplies Israel with Aermacchi M-346 aircraft and components for its Apache attack helicopters, also deployed in the violent ethnic cleansing of Gaza. Testimony and video evidence also point to the role of Israel’s Apache helicopters in the killing of Israeli civilians in Kibbutz Beeri.
Only two weeks ago, on the 106th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration, activists daubed Leonardo’s London offices in blood-red paint and occupied the entry overhang, obstructing access to the headquarters. This is not the first time Palestine Action has occupied the Edinburgh Leonardo factory, and the campaign against the Italian weapons giant represents the continued expansion of Palestine Action’s remit. The group have pledged to down the premises of all companies responsible for British arms exports to Israel as part of a now three-year-strong campaign of direct action.