Three Remanded to Prison After Occupation Of Israel’s Weapons Factory in Newcastle

May 18, 2023

Three activists were remanded to prison after two occupied and dismantled an Israeli state owned weapons factory in Newcastle. The two who took part in the action allegedly caused over £69K worth of damage and over £600K in losses to the firm. Out of the two, one was granted bail at Newcastle Magistrates Court. The other was also granted bail, which was immediately appealed by the Crown Prosecution Service, meaning they will remain imprisoned until a further hearing on Friday. 

Another two people were arrested for “conspiracy to commit criminal damage” at different locations. Both were charged and remanded to prison by a Magistrates judge. An appeal will be submitted shortly to demand their immediate release. 

Activists occupied the factory site for two days after first scaling the factory early Monday morning [1] [2], and in that time took 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 [3], 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 [4]. 

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 [5].

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 [6], Rafael describes these missiles as ‘extensively battle proven by the Israeli Air Force’ [7].

The occupation was part of a one-two punch of actions on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. 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 [89]. 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.