Palestine Action shuts Elbit down in Shenstone for the third time despite police crackdown

Jan 18, 2021


18th January 2021

For immediate release

In the early hours of Monday, several members of Palestine Action chained shut the gates of UAV Engines in Shenstone, locked themselves on to each other and doused the building in red paint; preventing all directors and staff from accessing the place of work to continue their

weapons development.

Members arrived before dawn and took the factory by surprise. As of yet no arrests have been made and activists continue to shut down the factory.

This is the third time Palestine Action has shut down UAV Engines, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, since the movement’s launch in August 2020. The first of these occupations occurred in September of last year, and allegedly caused Elbit £450,000 in losses.

A member of Palestine Action said about today’s blockade:

“We will not stop our vital work until all ten of Elbit’s UK locations are shut down for good. If making bombs for the world’s most repressive regimes to kill innocent people is considered “essential” during a pandemic, then Palestine Action’s effort to prevent them is mandatory. The power is in our hands. Unless we are actively doing everything we can to prevent Elbit from operating, every single one of us is complicit in Israel’s campaign of killing.”

Abdalrahim Alfarra, a Palestinian journalist living in Gaza, commented on the group’s sustained actions against Israel’s arms factories:

“When Israel bombs us, shoots us, shells us and tries to kill our families and children, it’s using weapons made by Elbit… We are being used as guinea pigs: Elbit tests how fast its weapons kill us or how badly one bullet can injure us. When white phosphorus rains down in the sky to burn our skin, it’s Palestine Action who goes out on the streets to protest. Every time they close Elbit’s factories, they’re stopping the production of these weapons and helping to save the lives of my people in Gaza.”

This morning’s direct action comes after police raided the home of another activist allegedly linked to Palestine Action last Thursday. Their devices were seized in what the group regard as a continued pattern of harassment and intimidation, indicative of an increasingly authoritarian state. Notably, during the last blockade of Elbit in November, two legal observers were unlawfully pepper-sprayed by the police and then arrested despite being independent to the protest.

Notes to editors

Palestine Action Press Officer: 07840150925

Palestine Action

  • Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down
  • In five months Palestine Action has targeted Elbit sites, and their landlord LaSalle Investment Management, over fifty times.
  • In the tradition of Palestine Action, further disruptions will be in store

Elbit Systems

  • Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer and has 10 sites across the UK, including four arms factories
  • It also owns four subsidiaries and two joint ventures
  • The company provides the Israeli military with over 80% of its drone fleet
  • Use of Elbit Systems’ equipment in Gaza:
  • EU has spent €50 million on a two-year contract to Elbit Systems to use unmanned drones to surveil refugees attempting to flee to safety to Europe across the Mediterranean

Previous actions at UAV Engines

Police crackdowns