Trial Begins for Six Activists Who Disarmed Shenstone’s Israeli Weapons Factory

Nov 6, 2023

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Six activists from Palestine Action will begin their trial at 10.30AM today in Court Room 1 at Stafford Crown Court. The six are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage, two also face burglary charges. This trial comes after five of the six activists occupied the roof and disarmed Elbit’s UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, on January 22nd 2022. Whilst on the roof, activists destroyed an Israeli drone engine within the premises. 

UAV Engines is owned by Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems. The factory is a crucial subsidiary of Elbit because it produces the engine to the Hermes 450 drone, said to be the ‘backbone’ of the Israeli military drone fleet. The Hermes 450 drone is often marketed as “battle-tested” on the captive population of Gaza. Its use on the captive populations of Palestine (and many more) laid the foundations for the Watchkeeper drone – which has been put to use by both the UK Border Patrol and British police for surveilling and monitoring both migrants and citizens, and has been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Watchkeeper was developed by Elbit in close collaboration with weapons company Thales; its engines are constructed in Shenstone.

This trial comes whilst Israel is committing a genocide against the Palestinian people using Elbit’s weaponry. At the time of writing, 9770 Palestinians have been killed in the past few weeks, including 4008 children. Over 1000 Palestinians remain under the rubble of destroyed hospitals, schools, residential blocks and bakeries. During the current bombardment of Gaza, Israel is testing out Elbit’s new ‘iron sting’ missiles. Palestinian doctors have reported severe burns marked on the killed and injured – unlike any they have seen before. 


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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.