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UK activists shut down Israeli arms factory

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Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Police look on as protesters occupy the roof of an Elbit owned factory in Birmingham. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

For nearly a month, Israel has bombarded Gaza from land, sea and air. More than 1800 Palestinians have lost their lives and war crimes have been committed. To our collective shame, the UK government has not only failed to take action to pressure Israel to stop its massacre, but has refused to take steps to end the material support it provides to Israel’s brutal regime of apartheid and colonialism. When governments support crimes against humanity, grassroots movements must take direct action.

A group of activists from the London Palestine Action network have today (5/8/14) chained the doors shut of an Israeli weapons factory based near Birmingham in the UK and are now occupying the roof. As part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and in response to calls for action from Palestinian movements, we are demanding the permanent closure of the factory and an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel.

Protester hangs "Elbit Arms, Israel Kills" at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protester hangs “Elbit Arms, Israel Kills” at shutdown Elbit factory in Birmingham. The factory produces drone engines which are exported to Israel and used over Gaza. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory that we are occupying produces engines for drones and is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drones producer. Drone engines manufactured at this factory have been exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and Elbit Systems drones are being used in Israel’s ongoing massacre. Any claims that components manufactured at this factory are not being used in Israel’s current attack on Gaza are not credible.

Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal. By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Protesters call for an arms embargo and for the UK to stop arming Israel. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

The factory is also a key part of the Watchkeeper program under which Elbit Systems is leading the manufacture of a new generation of drones for the UK military. The Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450, documented as being used to kill Palestinian civilians

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

Activists occupying roof of UAV Engines, wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit. (Photo: London Palestine Action)

during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Elbit Systems markets its drones as ‘field tested’ – by which it means that their drones have been proven to be effective at killing Palestinians. The UK government is importing technology that has been developed during the course of Israeli massacres.

UK prime minister David Cameron and the UK government have Palestinian blood on their hands. In order to end their deep complicity with Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians, they must take steps to impose a full military embargo on Israel and close the Elbit Systems factory immediately.

It is more important than ever that the solidarity we build with the Palestinian struggle is effective and impactful. Israel does not act alone but is supported by governments and corporations across the world that have names and addresses. It is time for the international solidarity movement to escalate its direct actions against those that support and profit from Israeli apartheid to take action that can lead to a genuine isolation of Israel.

Join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement! Stop arming Israel!

 

London Palestine Action
About London Palestine Action

London Palestine Action is a network of people in London taking creative action against Israeli apartheid.

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24 Responses

  1. just
    just
    August 5, 2014, 10:34 am

    Hurrah, LPA humanitarians!

    Amazing effort, pictures, and impact.

  2. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    August 5, 2014, 10:52 am

    The bbc is/was under occupation too!

    http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/protesters-occupy-the-bbc-for-it-s-biased-reporting-of-israel-s-assault-on-gaza

    “IF BBC coverage of Israel’s systematic destruction of lives wasn’t sufficient to make people hot under the collar, the corporation’s justification of its role should do so.

    “Our role is to explain what is happening and why and we endeavour to reflect a range of voices amid deeply held views,” says an anonymous spokesperson.

    If that’s what it’s supposed to do, the BBC is failing its own criteria.

    At no time do its correspondents explain that the Palestinians are a people under military occupation and that Israel is pursuing a relentless colonisation of the West Bank, which, under the 1993 Oslo accords, is supposed to be the site of an independent Palestinian state.

    ……

    The BBC Bristol occupation has shown the way. The national broadcaster belongs to us all, not just those who are indifferent to Palestinian humanity.

    Film-maker Ken Loach tore into the BBC for its biased coverage of Israel’s assault on Gaza as he joined an ongoing occupation outside the broadcaster’s headquarters in Bristol.

    Speaking to the Morning Star from the front lawn of the BBC Bristol offices, Mr Loach said: “The protesters are doing a terrific job even as the BBC is threatening to get them evicted from the site.

    “We should note that many at the BBC, including senior staff, are embarrassed by the broadcaster’s coverage that has an obvious pro-Israel bias.”

    ……

    Palestine campaigners have occupied the front lawn of the BBC building in Bristol for the last week.

    They are set to join thousands in a march through the city today against the “Israeli genocide” in Gaza. It is set to be the biggest protest in Bristol for a decade, with demonstrators departing Bristol’s Shah Jahal Mosque at noon for a rally on College Green.

    And next week they are set to present a “damning dossier” to BBC Bristol TV editor Neil Bennett containing evidence of the broadcaster’s biased reporting and demand time to argue their case.”

  3. chocopie
    chocopie
    August 5, 2014, 10:54 am

    Good for them!!

  4. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    August 5, 2014, 10:58 am

    Out-frickin’-standing!

    By the by, has anyone else noticed that as Israel becomes more vicious the coverage gets more and more biased?

  5. Kay24
    Kay24
    August 5, 2014, 11:06 am

    Good job Britain. It is quite impressive that the Palestinians are getting some support from various British groups, and putting some pressure on their pro Israeli government.

  6. American
    American
    August 5, 2014, 11:28 am

    Going on everywhere.
    US protestors need to use the effigy hanging of some politicians and public figure zionist to spark things up.
    But not shoot themselves in the foot with the freemason jews running the world remarks.
    Hanging them in effigy as racist and traitors or fascist would get wider support.

    http://www.nbc40.net/story/26190259/israeli-leaders-hung-in-effigy-in-hungarian-town

    Israeli leaders hung in effigy in Hungarian town

    Posted: Aug 04, 2014 11:13 AM EDTUpdated: Aug 04, 2014 12:16 PM EDT
    BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – The mayor of a town in eastern Hungary has held an event hanging effigies of the prime minister and former president of Israel to protest the war in Gaza.

    Mihaly Zoltan Orosz, who has been mayor of Erpatak since 2005, told The Associated Press Monday that the “Jewish terror state” is trying to obliterate the Palestinians and said he opposed “the efforts of Freemason Jews to rule the world.”

    Hungary’s foreign ministry condemned the mayor’s actions.

  7. just
    just
    August 5, 2014, 11:38 am

    Kucinich:

    “Late last week, the White House decried Israel’s attack on a UN school in Gaza as “totally unacceptable” and “totally indefensible”, then proceeded to approve $225m in funding for its Iron Dome. On Monday, the US state department went further, calling the airstrikes upon a UN school “disgraceful” – and yet America provides Israel with more than $3.1bn every year, restocking the ability of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to hit more schools, and to wage total war against an imprisoned people, because of their nationality.

    American taxpayers should not be paying for this. And the western world should stop rejecting serious inquiries about Israel’s moral inconsistencies, or allow it to benefit from cognitive dissonance and information overload amid the current crisis in Gaza.

    There is a land grab going on. The Israeli prime minister, Binjamin Netanyahu, has shrunk Gaza’s habitable land mass by 44%, with an edict establishing a 3km (1.8-mile) buffer zone, a “no-go” zone for Palestinians – and that’s quite significant, because a good part of Gaza is only 3 to 4 miles wide. Over 250,000 Palestinians within this zone must leave their homes, or be bombed. As their territorial space collapses, 1.8m Gazans now living in 147 square miles will be compressed into 82 square miles.

    Gaza’s entire social and physical infrastructure of housing, hospitals, places of worship, more than 130 of its schools, plus markets, water systems, sewer systems and roads are being destroyed. Under constant attack, without access to water, sanitary facilities, food and medical care, Gazans face an IDF-scripted apocalypse.”

    [email protected] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/05/gaza-buffer-zone-dennis-kucinich

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      August 5, 2014, 12:14 pm

      I liked these two paras from the article:

      “I assume the IDF acts with deliberation, under orders from the Netanyahu government. And I think the extraordinary and illegal forced relocation of over 250,000 Palestinians from 44% of Gazan land is a crime against humanity under the guise of establishing a “buffer zone” for security purposes.

      Look at the region’s maps from recent history. Look at the steady erosion of Palestinian land and the acquisition of land by Israel, and you can understand that the present attack on Gaza is not about solely about Hamas. It’s about land. It isn’t just about Hamas’s rockets. It’s about land. It isn’t just about Hamas’s tunnels. It’s about land. It isn’t about kidnappings. It is about land. It isn’t even about meeting a housing crisis in Israel. It is about grabbing land from the Palestinians in Gaza and the natural resources that go with the land, upon the occasion of Israel’s military invasion of Gaza.”

      • just
        just
        August 5, 2014, 12:16 pm

        Me too, Bumblebye.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot
        August 5, 2014, 12:29 pm

        It is about grabbing land from the Palestinians in Gaza and the natural resources that go with the land, upon the occasion of Israel’s military invasion of Gaza.”

        I think it’s primarily about keeping the Gazans and Hamas knocked out. Israel isn’t trying to recover the buffer zone for themselves that I know. Or not yet. And the gas, well, eventually.

    • HarryLaw
      HarryLaw
      August 5, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Sounds more like Genocide to me.

  8. Palikari
    Palikari
    August 5, 2014, 11:55 am

    They should arrested and locked up in prison.

  9. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    August 5, 2014, 11:55 am

    In the wake of the horrific massacre of children by a heavily-armed IDF, a British cultural boycott of Israel has already started in London as the directors of the venue used for the last eight years to host the Jewish Film Festival of predominately Israeli films has abruptly withdrawn its availability, leaving the festival organisers to try to find alternative premises.

    It is envisaged that there will be an increasing backlash against the alleged war crimes committed in Gaza, throughout not only the UK but also throughout the rest of the European Union. Human and civil rights organisations in Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Poland, Belgium and in the rest of Europe are determined that the Israeli government be held responsible for the 1800 predominately civilian deaths in Gaza.

    As for the upsurge in anti-Semitism as a reaction against alleged IDF war crimes – there is little that can be done other than to insist that the Israeli government stop falsely claiming to act in the name of others.

  10. notatall
    notatall
    August 5, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Now that’s what I call a boycott.

  11. amigo
    amigo
    August 5, 2014, 1:41 pm

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/staff-at-dublin-toy-shop-told-to-remove-israel-boycott-sign-1.1887155

    ” Smyths toy store has told staff at its Jervis Street branch in Dublin to remove a sign on the door informing members of the public they had removed products made in Israel from their shelves.

    A printed sign was posted on the front door of the busy shop on Sunday and it was quickly photographed and circulated on social media.

    The sign, which mis-spelt the company name, read: ‘Smythys Toys Jervis St have removed Amav products and other products made in Israel from our shelves.

    Then this from The Israeli embassy “.

    ” A montage incorporating the sign was posted by the Israeli embassy in Ireland (@IsraelinIreland) Twitter account with the added words: ‘So what’s next? No dogs or Jews allowed?’”.

    From the people who support and excuse the 600,000 illegal squatters living in Jews only illegal settlements. Jaysus, they have sum neck.

    There were several responses to the embassy’s tweet, from individuals supporting the unilateral declaration by the Jervis Street staff and also from individuals supporting Israel.

    One person commented: “Excellent, I’ll give my business to go (sic) store that DOES sell Israeli goods.”

    Another said of the embassy’s message: “Disgusting! Bigotry is not the answer.”

    And another man said he was “anti-Hamas” and “anti-Israeli government” but that he “100 per cent” supported a boycott of Israeli products.

    The mis-spelling of the company name led a number of people to question on Twitter whether the sign was real. Smyths confirmed today that it was.

    The company said it did not take political stances and that it was continuing to investigate the matter.

    More of this from the guys and Gals in Dublin.

  12. Bob_Salad
    Bob_Salad
    August 5, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Social activism in Britain has a long and well documented history with the wider activist community never needing much of an excuse to take to the streets in protest or engage in other, more creative forms of civil disobedience.

    Targeting organizations such as Elbit and BBC regional offices are smart choices; they generate high-levels of media exposure; bring questionable organizations under the spotlight and importantly, help widen the discourse of legitimacy.

    It also highlights how a relatively small, dedicated group of activists can often generate as much media exposure as the large marches and protests. Jews for Peace descending on the NY friends of IDF offices in NY being a good example.

    OT, does anyone know if it was establish who replaced the US flag on Brooklyn Bridge with a white flag and if this was in anyway linked to the I/P conflict?

  13. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    August 5, 2014, 5:25 pm
  14. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    August 5, 2014, 7:55 pm

    I am so embarrassed for the U.K. police shown in the first/top/uppermost photo looking on as the protesters occupy Elbit’s roof. I have never seen police decked out in such cheap, geeky, light-colored, butt-ugly protective gear. Have they no self-respect? Their gear looks like the type of protective gear that the teletubbies might wear.
    If the U.K. wants their police to be taken seriously (rather than being snickered at), they should invest in the type of kick-ass armour that turns mere policemen into über-intimidating RoboCops.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      August 5, 2014, 8:04 pm

      Well, the UK is the home of the teletubbies! But I’ve never considered a high-vis jacket to resemble any of them. Shurely you noticed the sun was setting? And you’ll note the dull dun color of the representative of the fire service on the right. Anyhow, they’ve been wearing those things for years now, must be used to looking like navvies.

    • just
      just
      August 5, 2014, 8:30 pm

      Their hats are mismatched, but I love the activists’ outfits and accessories!

  15. anthonybellchambers
    anthonybellchambers
    August 5, 2014, 10:00 pm

    David Cameron’s refusal to condemn Israel’s horrific killing of 1000 civilians in Gaza indicates the extent of the influence on government of the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby (CFI) of which the Prime Minister and his Chancellor, George Osborne, are both such staunch members.

    But the British electorate did not vote to be governed by an unelected lobby, particularly one associated with an American-Israel pressure group in Washington.

    As for the resignation of Baroness Warsi from this government and the backlash in the British arts as a rejection of pro-Israel policies in Gaza – they are seen as a wider dissatisfaction among the population as a whole, of the ‘Tony Blair poodle syndrome’ that demands British government ministers comply with US foreign policy regardless of its political agenda; its contempt for the United Nations, international human rights law and the Geneva Conventions.

    As for Baroness Warsi, she has had the courage to resign from a coalition government that no longer represents the people of Britain – but rather the right-wing, expansionist agenda of the extremist Likud party of Israel.

  16. Miss Costello
    Miss Costello
    August 6, 2014, 6:58 pm

    I dedicate the following link to the brave souls up on the roof. It takes guts and human decency to do what they’ve done. Something Cameron and his ilk will never know.

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