Activists plead not guilty to conspiracy charges of criminal damage against Israeli arms factory HQ

Apr 6, 2021

  • Five Palestine Actionists plead not guilty to “conspiracy to commit criminal damage” at Southwark Crown Court
  • Charges follow a successful action at London HQ of Elbit Systems last October 
  • Activists call on Elbit Systems to be put on trial for their crimes against humanity

Five Palestine Action activists pleaded not guilty to charges of ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’ at Southwark Crown Court today (6th April 2021). Their trial date has been set for April 2020. The charges followed violent arrests during a successful direct action that soaked Elbit’s main office at 77 Kingsway in blood-red paint in October. Activists were immediately apprehended by police officers after emerging from a car and dousing the front of the building during a well-attended public demonstration.

To date, there are over 6 Crown Court cases involving activists from Palestine Action, after Elbit’s sites have been systematically targeted across the UK. Their actions are necessary, say activists, to prevent Elbit’s crimes against humanity continuing and to force Israeli war criminals out of the UK. 

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms firm and has 10 sites across the UK, including four weapons factories. The company markets their weapons as “battle-tested” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and uses this fact to sell their weapons to oppressive regimes across the world. Elbit is also contracted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to supply drones to surveil and stop migrants from seeking refuge in the UK. They provide the Israeli military with over 80% of its drone fleet. This particular drone was first used in the 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed. 

One female defendant said:  “Who should really be charged with criminal damage? The activists that spilled paint? Or the war criminals that spill blood and destroy entire communities?

“To the government and your army of policy: you don’t intimidate us, your hypocrisy only angers us and motivates us to continue. 

“To Elbit Systems: we look forward to seeing you in court and exposing the criminal damage that you have committed. 

“And to supporters of human rights and believers of justice: join Palestine Action and help shut Elbit down”

Notes to editors

For more information or to arrange interview contact:

Palestine Action

  • Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down and for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid
  • Palestine Action aims to shut down Elbit’s UK operation and has hit the firm’s sites, and those of their landlord LaSalle Investment Management, around 40 times since launching in August 2020
  • These actions include shutting down Elbit factories in Shenstone on four occasions (the most notorious of which caused £145,000 of damage), and a series of occupations and public protests at Elbit’s London HQ
  • In the tradition of Palestine Action, further disruptions will be in store. 

Elbit Systems