Palestine Action Occupation of Israeli State Owned Weapons Factory Enters Second Day​​​​​​​

May 16, 2023

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The occupation of the Israeli-state owned arms factory in Newcastle has continued into the second day as activists have maintained their positions on the factory roof overnight. While one was arrested early this morning, the other activist remains in place, holding control of the site and keeping it shut down for the second day running after first scaling the factory early Monday morning [1]. Activists have taken the site apart, with extensive damage caused to the windows, equipment, and property both inside and outside of the factory walls ensuring that the Israeli government will not be able to operate its weapons manufacturing from Newcastle for some time.

The factory and the brand Pearson Engineering was, in September 2022 [2], purchased by Rafael as part of a ‘strategic expansion’ into Britain by the weapons company wholly owned by the Israeli state. The Pearson factory itself specialises in producing armoured military vehicles, and is now under significant control of the Israeli Ministry of Finance [3]. Rafael, meanwhile, have manufactured a range of weaponry for Israel’s murder and repression of Palestinians, including guided Spike missiles. Despite these missiles being linked to widespread civilian casualties, and having been used to target a school wherein children were sheltering [4], Rafael describes these missiles as ‘extensively battle proven by the Israeli Air Force’ [5].

In support of the activists on the roof and in solidarity with Palestinians on Nakba day, individuals from Newcastle have turned out with signs and placards throughout the rooftop occupation. Yesterday evening, one supporter was arrested after attempting to throw water to those on the roof.

After Palestine Action yesterday redecorated the Foreign Office, marking it with a symbol of the Palestinian bloodshed in which it has been complicit for over a century [67]. The activists drenched the Foreign Office in blood-red paint, after which they were arrested, held for 7 hours, and released under investigation. In Leicester, where the Siege on Elbit Systems’ U-TacS drone factory has now entered its third week, an individual was yesterday arrested while having been sat in the road, held for 10 hours.


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Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking action against the sites of Elbit Systems and other companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, calling for all such sites to be shut down.