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Activists occupy arms dealer’s office in defence of Palestine

ACTIVISTS occupied the central London office of an Israeli weapons firm today to draw attention to Britain’s complicity in war crimes against the Palestinians.

Four members of newly launched network Palestine Action entered 77 Kingsway in Holborn, where Elbit Systems – Israel’s biggest private arms company – has its British HQ.

The office is one of 10 Elbit sites across Britain, including four arms factories producing parts for drones used by the Israeli army. 

The activists attempted to reach the firm’s office on the fifth floor but were thwarted by security guards who blocked the stairs and removed them from the building. 

The Morning Star saw the guards force an elderly activist onto the street outside. She alleged that she had been “ripped out of the lift and pushed against a glass door.” 

Following the action, one of the activists, who did not want to be named, told the Star: “We are going to take action and escalate until all complicity with Israeli aparthied ends.”

She continued: “The UK has been complicit in the colonisation of Palestine for over 100 years. Now the UK is home to Elbit sites all over the country – a firm which markets their weapons as battle-tested because they are tested on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

Palestine Action, which launched on Thursday, describes itself as a nationwide network of groups and activists aimed at “promoting civil disobedience against companies and institutions that Israel uses to violently enforce apartheid, occupation and colonisation on the people of Palestine.”

Elbit supplies 85 per cent of the Israeli army’s drones, including the Hermes 450, which is believed to have been used in the 2014 onslaught on Gaza, according to Corporate Watch. 

The Hermes 450 drone was used to kill four Palestinian children on a beach during the seven-week bombardment, which claimed the lives of 1,462 civilians. 

Anti-arms groups have been targeting Elbit factories for over a decade, temporarily shutting down sites in Kent and Oldham last year with high-profile occupations. 

However, Palestine Action said that “despite attempts to expose the collusion of these companies, these actions have been met with silence.

“We are tired of being ignored,” the group added. 

Today’s action came the day after activists splattered Elbit’s London office with paint. Elsewhere, there was a large banner drop in Manchester and “subvertising” posters were put up in Oldham reading: “Tested on Palestinians, used in Kashmir, Israel’s weapons made in Oldham.”

Adie Mormech from Palestine Action told the Star: “Direct action and civil disobedience have been historically key components in anti-racism and other struggles. We're asking people to do more to take action against the 72-year oppression of the Palestinian people.”

“We are calling on everyone to have that level of urgency, to understand the carnage, the horror and trauma these weapons are meting out on so many people and to say: ‘If that was my child, if that was my family, if that was on my doorstep, I wouldn’t allow it.’

“Well, the company is on our doorstep and we’re not going to allow it.”

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