Freedom News

Palestine Action protest Somerset Council over Elbit link

Palestine Action is applying pressure on all parties who are directly or indirectly supporting genocide; in their coordinated effort, today, they are targeting Somerset Council County.

Four Somerset residents are taking direct action at Somerset Council’s County Hall building at The Crescent, Taunton, TA1 4DY. Using ladders, they fixed banners to the building before spraying the premises in red paint and attaching themselves to each other using lock on devices to obstruct the main entrance. 

The banners read, ‘Somerset Council are profiting off genocide. Evict Elbit Now!’ and ‘Somerset Council can evict Elbit but choose profits. Blood is on your hands!’

One of the activists taking part said ahead of the action:

“I am doing this action with Palestine Action because I’m a resident of Somerset, and I pay council taxes to Somerset Council, which is the landlord of Elbit Systems, the Israeli arms company. So, they are directly responsible for the genocide that is going on in Gaza, and it has to stop. The council has to evict Elbit immediately.”

Somerset Council are the landlord of Aztec West 600, the Bristol Headquarters of Elbit Systems UK. Due to financial concerns, the council plans to sell the property as part of a wholesale move to dispose of its commercial investments. 

However, residents have repeatedly disrupted council meetings to make it clear that simply disposing of the property does not absolve the council of its responsibility. They demanded that the public body terminate the lease before selling the property’s freehold.

Despite raising these concerns and lawyers highlighting a legal route for the council to evict Elbit from the premises, the council has failed to do so. 

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, who supply the majority of Israel’s military drone fleet, land based equipment, bullets, munitions and missiles – which are used to commit genocide in Gaza. 

In what’s described as a calculated targeting of aid workers, Israel killed three British citizens using Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone — the engine of which is produced by an Elbit Systems UK subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd. 

Since October 7th, the Israeli military has killed almost 33,000 Palestinians, injured 75,500 and destroyed 62% of all homes in Gaza, equivalent to 290,920 housing units. Elbit’s CEO openly boasts of arming the genocide and has confirmed that the company has “ramped up production” of weaponry for the Israeli military. 

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