Palestine Action turns two: A look back on the movement so far

Jul 31, 2022

Today, Palestine Action celebrates its second anniversary. The direct action network was founded in 2020, in response to lack of urgency and the absence of concrete tactics in Britain’s pro-Palestine politics, with our campaign to #ShutElbitDown at the helm of everything we do, targetting Israel’s largest arms company Elbit Systems through sustained direct action.

Since then we’ve won huge victories, closing two Elbit sites permanently and demonstrating the necessity of direct action to advance change. Read on for some of the highlights of our second year and a look to where we go next in the fight to dismantle British complicity.

We PERMANENTLY CLOSED two Elbit sites. In January of this year, it was revealed that Elbit Ferranti in Oldham was to be permanently closed, following eighteen months of sustained direct action from Palestine Action. Then, in June – after almost three months of action taken en-site, Elbit were forced to leave their central London headquarters, formerly hosted at 77 Kingsway. Palestine Action are making Israel’s arms trade untenable, and it’s only a matter of time until the next site falls.

In our first ever trial for an action, three activists were found not guilty in a landmark case for Palestine Action and a major defeat for both the Crown Prosecution Service and Elbit Systems. Alongside this, countless activists’ cases have been dropped.

In the New Year, activists took to Elbit’s UAV Engines LTD. Chaos ensued for Elbit as they tore apart the roof, removing bricks and roof panels, and causing overall huge damage to the site. Another noteable action was in Tamworth, where activists took to the factory roof and used tiles to tear it apart, leaving the site inoperable.

Palestine Action Scotland launched – their second action causing millions in damage to weapons giant Thales, who hold a factory in Govan, South Glasgow. People across the country are kicking warlords weapons companies out of our cities, towns and villages.

After closing Elbit’s London HQ, nine activists marked Nakba Day by storming the company’s state of the art Bristol headquarters, occupying and barricading site offices. Activists were placed on remand and made political prisoners, as further attempts at repression are tried on Palestine Action. Two lacking British citizenship were held on remand for a month – but they emerged with grins on their faces, donning the Palestine flag. Over the past two years, over two hundred activists have faced arrest and loss of liberty, braving state repression and personal fears in the struggle to end Britain’s collective complicity.

In October, cofounders of Palestine Action Richard Barnard and Huda Ammori, amongst others, will be facing trial for a number of actions, a chance to put the spotlight on Elbit’s many crimes – details surrounding this and the ensuing campaign will follow in the coming weeks. In addition, there are several upcoming hearings for which support is needed, details can be found on our social media channels.

Two Elbit sites gone in two years – our sights are set on making the next one fall. Though the heart of Britain beats to the march of war, our hearts beat for Palestine. Palestine Action have no intentions of stopping until Palestine is free from the militarism, occupation and immiseration that is enabled by Britain. Make the leap and join the mass movement against the Israeli arms trade:

Sign up for the next Palestine Action workshop

Unlike NGOs and other groups who set ’10 year plans’, we’re clear that we want our goal – closure of all Elbit sites, as soon as possible, and our actions reflect that – Palestine demands our urgency. On our second anniversary, please help us to keep the pressure on: