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Second UK-based Israeli drone factory shut down by protesters

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Instro Precision, an arms company near Broadstairs (Kent), was occupied at 5am this morning to protest its sales to both Israel and Afghanistan. Four people are on the roof with banners to shut the factory down, with ten more on the ground, one of whom is locked to the fence.

A wide range of groups came together to make this happen, including: Brighton BDS, Brighton Palestine Action, Smash EDO, Stop NATO Cymru, Anarchist Action Network, East Kent CAAT, Swansea Action for Palestine (with a bit of support from us too).

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

Instro is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who make drones that are used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are also supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall.

Elbit Hermes drones have been flown over Afghanistan and the new Watchkeeper drone, based on the Hermes, was deployed by the MOD last year. Although the Watchkeeper is ostensibly a surveillance drone, it has been displayed with missiles under its wings at the DSEi arms fair in London.

During last Summer’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ attack last Summer, armed drones killed 830 Palestinians in Gaza. 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military are supplied by Elbit. Elbit’s share price rose in July off the back of the extensive use of its technology during Israel’s massacre,and the company recently reported a backlog in orders worth $6.2 billion. Elbit advertises its products as “combat proven”€, by which they mean their products are tested on the bodies of Palestinian civilians.

This is the second UK-based Elbit factory to be targeted by activists, after the successful occupation last summer of a drone engine factory near Birmingham.

One of the activists, Tom Anderson, a researcher from the UK research group Corporate Watch said:

We are here because we want to stop Elbit from supplying weapons which are used to massacre people in Gaza and Afghanistan. In 2013 I visited Gaza and spoke to the survivors of Israeli drone strikes. They told me that they wanted people to take action to prevent the companies that manufactured the drones that killed their loved ones from making equipment that will cause others to suffer the way they have.

Rida Abu Zneid, a young woman from Gaza who saw her sister ripped apart in front of her by a missile from an Israeli drone told Corporate Watch:

Why should they manufacture these weapons to kill innocent people? They should stop and close those factories. They only do it for the money. They get money and they cost our lives. If they only thought for a second about what these weapons can do they would stop. What do they feel when they see killed people on the TV? If they came over here and lived just one day in this area, and heard the bombing and the drones, what would they feel? I think they should live our experience€.

Elbit’s electronics are used in Israel’s apartheid wall, which stretches for hundreds of miles across the West Bank separating people from their loved ones, farmers from their fields and is intended to colonise more land for Israel and its settlements.

Lucy Marshall, another of the protesters said: “optical and camera systems like those manufactured at Instro Precision are supplied by Elbit for use on drones and also for camera systems on the apartheid wall. We are here to take action to prevent Israel from continuing its oppression and apartheid against the Palestinians.”

Palestinians have called on governments to impose an arms embargo on Israel, and not to buy arms from Israeli companies like Elbit. Abdulrahman Abunahel from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement said: “We call on governments around the world to do the very least they can to stop Israel from carrying out more massacres of our people by imposing a military embargo on Israel. Such steps would be in line with growing public support for our struggle and for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign”.

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

Notes:

  1. On Instro: Instro Precision advertises camera systems, optical systems and systems for ‘target acquisition’ [http://www.instro.co.uk].
  2. On Elbit: Owners Elbit Systems make 85% of Israel’s drones, and are the “world’s leading exporter of [drones]”. Israeli drones have been implicated in the killing of Palestinian civilians both in the recent assault and in previous assaults; the Israeli army described Elbit as a “real asset”€ during the recent bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has to date killed over 2,000 Palestinians. Elbit advertises its products as “combat proven”, by which they mean their products are tested on the bodies of Palestinian civilians. More info on Elbit€“.
  3. On the use of Israeli drones: Human Rights Watch have published detailed information about the use of Elbit drones to deliberately attack Palestinian civilians during the 2008/­09 massacre of Gaza. Israel refuses to confirm officially that it uses armed drones, despite multiple journalists and defence sources evidencing that they do e.g. the International Business Times, Wikileaked US Embassy cables, military websites, and Israel’s own Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.
  4. On UK arms links with Israel: the UK exported £7m of weapons to Israel in the six months leading up to the Gaza war, including components for drones.
  5. For more information about the Palestinian grassroots call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against israel see www.bdsmovement.net
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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9 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 17, 2015, 12:39 pm

    RE: “Elbit’s electronics are used in Israel’s apartheid wall, which stretches for hundreds of miles across the West Bank separating people from their loved ones, farmers from their fields and is intended to colonise more land for Israel and its settlements.” ~ London Palestine Action

    ALSO SEE: “Elbit Systems wins homeland security contract”, Reuters.com, Mar 2, 2014

    (Reuters) – Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP) awarded its subsidiary a contract to deploy border surveillance technology in southern Arizona.

    Known as the Integrated Fixed Tower contract, it includes a base period quantity and options that CBP may exercise over several years. Currently, CBP awarded the base period quantity for a portion of the $145 million total contract amount, to be implemented over one year, Elbit said on Sunday.

    “Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our southern border,” U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona said in a separate statement.

    “If this technology is developed, integrated and fielded correctly, these Integrated Fixed Towers in southern Arizona, coupled with the tremendous work of the Border Patrol, will give our agents the ability to detect, evaluate, and respond to all illegal entries crossing our border.”

    SOURCE – http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/02/us-elbitsystems-arizona-contract-idUSBREA2104K20140302

  2. just
    just
    February 17, 2015, 12:52 pm

    Huge thanks and props to Brighton BDS, Brighton Palestine Action, Smash EDO, Stop NATO Cymru, Anarchist Action Network, East Kent CAAT, Swansea Action for Palestine, and London Palestine Action for this impressive, meaningful and peaceful action!

    (Many thanks for addressing the horrific actions/situation in Afghanistan, too. The killing/Occupation machine has cut a wide swath in MENA.)

    I wish I was on that roof, too……

  3. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    February 17, 2015, 6:15 pm

    Massive thank you to all you Wonderful people.
    Great work!

  4. Neil Schipper
    Neil Schipper
    February 18, 2015, 12:42 am

    Palestinians have called on governments to impose an arms embargo on Israel, and not to buy arms from Israeli companies..

    We must restore sanity to the world, so that when international-law-abiding, human-rights-promoting weaponry-starved judenrein nations of the world like Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria go shopping for arms, their main suppliers continue to be international-law-abiding, human-rights-promoting nations like Russia, U.S., China.

    Further, let us all work hard to believe that these latter nations (along with France, U.K., Germany, Italy, etc. which have not had enemies at their borders for a generation or three) produce weapons that would never harm a Gazan child.

    While we’re at it, let us all work hard to not think about the twelve ongoing armed conflicts, of which eight involve radical Islam, that have each taken more life in 2014 than the summer Gaza war.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 18, 2015, 1:42 am

    “I Only Ask Of God”

    I only ask of God
    He won’t let me be indifferent to the suffering
    That the very dried up death doesn’t find me
    Empty and without having given my everything

    I only ask of God
    He won’t let me be indifferent to the wars
    It is a big monster which treads hard
    On the poor innocence of people
    It is a big monster which treads hard
    On the poor innocence of people . . .

    I Only Ask Of God (Video Official) – Outlandish “Con Letra”

    LYRICS – http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/outlandish/ionlyaskofgod.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      February 18, 2015, 2:17 am

      Outlandish
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      [EXCERPT] Outlandish is a hip-hop music group based in Denmark. Formed in 1997, it consists of Isam Bachiri (born in Denmark and of Moroccan background), Waqas Ali Qadri (born in Denmark and of Pakistani background), and Lenny Martinez (born in Honduras and of Cuban and Honduran descent). All three members are religious, with Isam and Waqas being Muslims and Lenny being Catholic. . .

      SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlandish

  6. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 18, 2015, 1:57 am

    Solo le Pido a Dios (I Only Ask Of God) – Gabriel Meyer Halevy (an Argentine-Israeli musician) – The Human Project


  7. just
    just
    February 19, 2015, 7:21 pm

    Check out Israel’s newest killing machines:

    “The army will deploy new unmanned ground vehicles that can carry remote-controled weapons and sensors for surveillance missions to patrol the Gazan border this year.

    The Tomcar-based Guardium, produced by Israeli defense company G-NIUS Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles, has spent the past six years patrolling the Gaza border, carrying out reconnaissance missions. This year, it will be replaced by a UGV called Border Patroller, which will soon enter operations.

    The new UGV, also produced by G-NIUS (a joint venture company established by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems), is based on the Ford F-350 Super Duty Truck, which the army has converted into a remote-controled vehicle.”

    http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/IDF-expects-UGVs-robots-to-play-ever-greater-roles-in-combat-391365

    The entire article is full of grotesquerie. Elbit is part of it, too.

    Thanks again to the wonderful activists and action, LPA!

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