One year of Palestine Action: Direct action against Israel’s arms trade works

Jul 31, 2021

Today marks one year since Palestine Action was founded. In just one year, we’ve become one of the most active and effective direct action networks operating in the UK, using direct action, factory occupations and other disruption to shut down the companies fuelling Israeli war crimes. We’ve taken action over 70 times, including 20 high-profile occupations of sites and factories. These sites – used to facilitate and supply the ethnic cleansing and repression of Palestinians – have been shut down for a combined total of 120 days of the last 365, of which Elbit Systems and its drone-parts-supplier APPH account for 105.

According to the police – who have consistently worked to ensure these firms remain operational and shielded from justice – Palestine Action have caused a total of £5,400,000 in criminal damages to the complicit companies we have shut down, having dismantled their premises and manufacturing machinery. These firms have suffered a further £7,480,000 in other losses as they’ve been forced to close and repair, and Elbit Systems have spent £3,050,000 on increased security across their UK sites (and still haven’t been able to stop us!). In total, Palestine Action have caused £15,930,000 in losses, damages and increased costs to complicit firms, of which Elbit Systems and its drone-parts-supplier APPH account for £14,760,000.

More importantly, we’ve prevented the production and shipment of drones, machinery, arms and munitions to the Israeli military and police, breaking the deadly supply chain linking the UK to the brutalisation of Palestinian people. This is Palestine Action’s founding purpose: using direct action – with activists putting their bodies and liberties on the line – to make a material difference to Palestinians by obstructing business-as-usual for Israel’s arms trade.

This past year has shown the massive power that people hold both as individuals and as part of a collective – the effect that conscientious people can make if they take global justice into their own hands, instead of appealing to the UK’s complicit government. At sites across the UK, people previously unaffiliated with Palestine Action have stepped up to protest and close the sites which manufacture Israel’s drones and armaments. In solidarity with our fearless activists – of whom 101 have been arrested over the past year – people up and down the country are no longer willing to allow these despicable companies to operate in our communities.

However, Elbit Systems are still operational, continuing to profit from genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine and abroad, supplying the militaries of Myanmar, the US, UK, India and more for the purposes of repression and surveillance. Palestinian people continue to be deprived of their basic rights and live under conditions of immense suffering and in daily fear for their lives and livelihoods. Meanwhile Israel continues to face little resistance from international governments for the war crimes committed on a daily basis. Clearly, Palestine Action still have a lot of work to do.

But the best part is that we’re only just getting started. There are dozens of companies operating in the UK which materially contribute to the military and political repression of Palestinian people. The UK government continues to offer its implicit support to the Israeli occupation. Palestine Action continue to grow, and will continue to target and shut down the sites of Elbit Systems and all affiliated or complicit companies until Elbit is shut down and the Palestinian people are free. To win, we need people like you to join us on the frontline, to take action and #ShutElbitDown – if we’ve achieved this with 100 arrests, they stand no chance against 500 of us. Our aim for the next year is not to shut down Elbit for 105 days, but to shut them down for good. Are you ready to take the leap?

We have had thousands of members join us, of which hundreds are willing and eager to take action themselves. We refuse to allow Elbit and their affiliates to operate in the UK and profit from Palestinian bloodshed. We will continue to escalate actions, continue to expose and obstruct UK complicity, and continue to shut Elbit down – but to do this, we’ll need your support. To help to #ShutElbitDown and to fund the next phase of Palestine Action as we look to the year ahead, donate by clicking here.