Why We Act – One Activist’s Testimony

Oct 12, 2020

By Jo, Palestine Action activist and arrestee at the Shut Elbit Down protest

Why we act

Palestine Action is targeting Elbit Systems as it manufactures weapons that are used to murder civilians around the world. This includes those in Gaza, Yemen and Kashmir.

The Israeli company markets these weapons as “battle-tested”, which means they’ve been used by Israel to murder innocent men, women and children in Gaza before being sold to other murderous regimes. They even manufacture weapons illegal under international law.

The UK is complicit in these crimes when it allows such a company to have offices and factories here and cashes in on blood money. As the second largest exporter of arms, this is unsurprising, but as citizens we have a moral obligation to speak out against this sickening abuse of power.

I, and many of the activists involved in yesterday’s action, have spent time in Palestine and have first-hand experience of the atrocities suffered by Palestinians. 

I’ve personally heard endless accounts of abuse and torture faced by Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers. I’ve seen the spot where two young Palestinian boys were shot when they started playfully throwing stones at the checkpoint tower after school. I’ve sat with my friends in the West Bank watching for days the stream of news from Gaza in the 2014 bombardment, parents screaming in grief as they carry the bodies of their children from the rubble. Images that people in this country are sheltered from. 

A man in Gaza screaming hysterically at the camera during the 2014 attack asked ‘Where is the world?’ Most of the world appears happy to turn a blind eye to injustice, but we act because we refuse to be complicit in such atrocities. The police make a fuss of some red paint thrown at a building but are content to protect a company such as Elbit whose profits are covered in blood. 

As activists, we might face brutality from the police and be arrested for our actions but this is nothing in comparison to the constant aggression faced by those on whom Elbit’s weapons are used. 

We demand that Elbit be shut down and will continue to act until it is.

Events at the Shut Elbit Down demo on 10/10/20

We began to spray paint on the front of 77 Kingsway – Elbit Systems HQ. Some of us were immediately tackled to the ground by police officers. I hit my head on the ground and my left arm was forced behind my back. I put my other arm under my head to try to protect it but the officer tried to pull it away to cuff me even though I was shouting that I was in pain. Others were also treated very roughly and one was dragged across the pavement when cuffed.