Palestine Action Occupy Roof of Israeli Weapons Factory in Newcastle on Nakba Day

May 15, 2023

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Palestine Action are occupying the roof and dismantling the factory of Pearson Engineering Ltd in Newcastle on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. 

The company, which makes armoured vehicles for the British military, is a recent purchase of Rafael, Israel’s third largest weapons company, a move which the company claims is the first part of the its planned expansion into Britain.¬†Pearson have long been crown complicit, receiving a Queens award for their work. Their company director, Lord John Matthew Hutton, is a British Labour Party member with long ties to the military industrial complex [1].

Rafael are owned by the Israeli state, providing weaponry to the Israeli military, included guided missiles responsible for massacres of Palestinians in 2014 and 2021 [2]. One such missile struck a school in Rafah in 2014 where 3,200 people were sheltering – killing 12 including 8 children [3]. Their missiles outfit Elbit drones [4] and are marketed as ‘extensively battle-proven by the Israeli Air Force’ [5].

Rafael were founded in 1948, when the Nakba began. This event (translated as ‘The Catastrophe’) was the start of an ongoing process of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in which Britain played a central role. After signing away the Palestinian homeland in 1917’s Balfour declaration [6], the British empire colonised the land through its Mandate of Palestine [7]. Through a campaign of supression, including arrests, killings and sexual violence amongst other war crimes [9], Britain created the conditions that made the ongoing Nakba possible [10] [11].

The Nakba saw Zionist militias, armed and trained by the British, expel over 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, over 500 towns and villages destroyed, and over 13,000 massacred including entire families [12]. As Rafael weapons production continues, so does the Nakba.

A spokesperson for Palestine Action has said:

‘Our occupation makes it clear – no part of the Israeli war machine will avoid being taken apart. Its owners are a company which is as old as the Nakba itself and are crucial to its continuation. If Rafael thinks they can expand into England, they have another thing coming.’

Actionists also spray painted Nakba75 messages in Leicester, on the 15th day of the Palestine Action ‘siege’ of the Elbit Leicester factory [13]. 


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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.