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Palestine action occupies Israeli arms factory halting production

PALESTINIAN-RIGHTS activists occupied the roof of an Israeli-owned arms factory in Staffordshire today, again halting the production of deadly weapons that have been used in Gaza.

Palestine Action activists climbed onto the roof of Elbit Systems’ UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, smashed the windows and prevented the site from opening.

The protesters chained the factory’s gates shut to block off all access, stormed the grounds, splattered the building in blood-red paint and displayed banners reading “Shut Elbit down” and “Elbit Arms: Israel Kills”.

Police arrived on the scene but it was not immediately clear whether any arrests were made.

The direct-action network has vowed to continue targeting the Israeli arms company until it vacates Britain.

The action followed a three-day rooftop occupation at the site last September which cost the company an estimated £145,000.

A member of Palestine Action said: “We’re back. And this is once again a clear and unwavering message to the immoral profiteers of war and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity that we’re not going away until Elbit’s lethal chain of weapons factories are hounded out of the UK. 

“Petitioning and protests don’t work, so it’s our moral obligation to take matters into our own hands and use direct action to shut these death factories down for good.”

Elbit provides 85 per cent of the drones used by the Israeli military, and engines from Shenstone power the firm’s Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Elbit drones were employed extensively during the 51-day attack on Gaza in 2014 which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 551 children. 

Elbit markets its products as battle-tested and says their “outstanding capabilities” have been proven through tens of thousands of operational uses by the Israel Defence Forces.

Elbit has established a large presence in Britain over the last 16 years, opening 10 sites across England and Wales including four factories. 

As reported by Declassifed last October, the British government has bought £46-million worth of military equipment from the company since 2018.

And last month, the Ministry of Defence gifted the firm a £102m contract for new surveillance technology – branded a “sensor-to-shooter” system – “which allows front-line soldiers to detect and engage enemy targets in seconds.”

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