September 7, 2022
Just Peace Advocates stands with Palestine Action in the campaign to #ShutElbitDown. The direct actions taken by Palestine Action activists have led to two facilities for this notorious Israeli arms dealer, profiting from the killing, displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, being shut down permanently.
Palestine Action has won victory after victory in the courts even as their actions have taken a significant toll on Elbit’s British operations. Now, eight Palestine Action activists are facing serious felony charges in the British courts in a five-week trial beginning on October 10. The charges include blackmail, criminal damage and burglary, and are clearly intended to shut down the important work of Palestine Action to hold the weapons manufacturers meaningfully accountable for the war cries of the occupation.
We stand with Palestine Action and the #ElbitEight. This case is critical for our entire movement and everyone seeking justice in Palestine. Instead, Palestine Action is seeking to make it clear who is responsible: #ElbitIsGuilty. Elbit is guilty of 74 years of war crimes, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people — and then marketing it for profit internationally. We will be organizing activities to stand with the #ElbitEight and declare #ElbitIsGuilty in the coming weeks, and we urge all to join us!
The following text is republished from Palestine Action’s Resource Page. Follow Palestine Action for the latest news: https://www.palestineaction.org/elbitisguilty/
Make sure to join the Palestine Action legal briefing on 13 September at 7 pm London time (11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern, 8 pm central Europe, 9 pm Palestine). Register to join on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvc-usrjMsG9TK3pE-A2qSLslpCUB1I0gd
On October 10th, eight Palestine Action activists known as the #ElbitEight will be facing down Israel’s largest arms company in the courts – a chance to expose their war crimes in the courts and prove that #ElbitIsGuilty.
On October 10th, eight Palestine Action activists known as the #ElbitEight will be facing trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court. This is set to be the biggest court battle to #ShutElbitDown to date, providing a chance to expose Elbit in the courts and prove that #ElbitIsGuilty.
The trial is expected to last five weeks and includes charges of burglary, criminal damage and blackmail, pertaining to actions spanning the first six months of Palestine Action. In this time the accused activists helped spark the people-backed direct action network that has successfully shut down a factory and headquarters belonging to Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems.
Every instance of state repression we’ve faced to date has been for one simple reason. Palestine Action has disrupted the smooth functioning of a business built on bloodshed. Drones raining fire on the ground below, or bullets cutting through bodies indiscriminately, it’s all money in the bank for the international arms industry.
WE FIND ELBIT GUILTY!
Elbit Systems holds an impressive international clientele, boasting some of the most flagrantly violent regimes involved in frequent human rights abuses; Brazil, India, and the Philippines, to name a few. However, a majority of its sales are to Israel, being Israel’s largest arms company.
Most notably, in Britain, Elbit produces the Hermes 450/900 and Watchkeeper UAVs – which go on to make up the 85% of Israel’s drone fleet. It was the Hermes 450 that was used in Gaza this month – ‘mowing the grass’, as Israeli military officials call it, and was used in 2021, 2014, and further back.
Thousands of hours of ‘testing’ (in Elbit’s own words) the Hermes 450 on Palestinians, as well as Iraqis and Afghans, made possible the Watchkeeper drone – utilised by the UK Border Force and British Police for the surveillance and monitoring of migrants and citizens respectively.
As well as drones, the company manufactures border control equipment, chemical weapons, ammunition – the list goes on. The crimes of Elbit Systems are manifold, and on October 10, a long-awaited process of justice concerning these war crimes will begin, helmed by Palestine Action and the Elbit Eight.
THE LAUNCH OF PALESTINE ACTION
The actions featured in the case took place at Elbit Ferranti (Oldham factory), the Elbit London headquarters (77 Kingsway) – both of which are now permanently closed, as well as JLL, Instro Precision (Kent) and UAV Engines LTD (Shenstone). These actions were in essence what launched Palestine Action, the direct action network which has pushed hundreds in Britain to face arrest for Palestine, has successfully shut down an Israeli arms factory and headquarters – this is why they are being met with repression.
SUPPORT THE #ELBITEIGHT
“In two years of direct action, Palestine Action have severely disrupted the smooth functioning of a business built on bloodshed. For this, we are facing intense political repression. Let it be known that we stand as the accusers, not the accused, and we fully intend to expose Elbit’s many war crimes, in particular, the Israeli arms company’s role in 74 years of occupation and dispossession lived by the Palestinian people. #ElbitIsGuilty, we are not.”
Everyone who is indignant to the march of warfare and disposession, who opposes the act of protest being met with lawfare, and most importantly, those who stand alongside the Palestinian struggle for life, we are requesting your support throughout the trial.
Sign up to the Palestine Action Defence Committee Legal Briefing on Tuesday September 13th.
FIVE ACTIONS TO TAKE
- PACK THE COURTS
Mobilise to support the #ElbitEight throughout the trial. The trial begins Monday October 10th, at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court and is expected to last 5 weeks. We are going to have a constant presence both inside and out. Sit in as a trial observer or join other supporters outside the court.
- SEND PHOTOS IN SUPPORT
Share a picture of yourself holding up the following message:‘I am _____ and I stand with Palestine Action. #ElbitIsGuilty’ You can fill in the blank with any self-identifier: your name, your occupation, or any other description. Some examples may be: “I am a teacher and I stand with Palestine Action. #ElbitIsGuilty” or “I am a youth organiser and I stand with Palestine Action. #ElbitIsGuilty”Post your photos on social media with the hashtags #ElbitEight, #ElbitIsGuilty, #ShutElbitDown. Just remember we may use your image online or in print.
- SIGN THE OPEN LETTER
Organisations of all kinds, as well as notable individuals can declare their support for the #ElbitEight by signing on to Palestine Action’s open letter here. Circulate the open letter amongst relevant contacts.
- SOLIDARITY STATEMENTS
Have your organisation make a solidarity statement in support of the #ElbitEight, it could look something like this:‘_____ stand in solidarity with Palestine Action’s #ElbitEight, who are going on trial October 10th against Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems. We stand with you in the Palestinian struggle for life – #ElbitIsGuilty, #ShutElbitDown everywhere!
Send them into firstname.lastname@example.org and publish in social media, newsletters etc.
- TAKE ACTION!
Whoever and wherever you are, we call on you to take creative and inspired direct action against Elbit Systems and in solidarity with the #ElbitEight. Whether this is a sit in, a banner drop or a rooftop occupation, show your solidarity, rage and fighting spirit through the language of direct action.For anyone outside of Britain who is interested in taking high profile action (e.g. destructive action) contact email@example.com and we’ll get in touch securely.If you take action, remember to grab a pic and send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org
31st July 2020 – Palestine Action launches with four activists storming Elbit’s former London headquarters, 77 Kingsway, now permanently closed!
6th August – Second storming of 77 Kingsway
21st August – Three actions in one night! LaSalle Investment Management – Elbit landlords + Elbit’s Instro Precision site + 77 Kingsway
25th August – Israel’s then Minister of Strategic Affairs and Defence Minister meet with the British Foreign Secretary, calling on the British state to crush the burgeoning direct action campaign
26th August – The first action at Elbit Ferranti, Oldham, now permanently closed!
5th September – 77 Kingsway protest, activists manhandled and violently arrested before protest started. Huda covers doors in red paint and gets tackled by police.
14th – 17th September – Roof top occupation of UAV Engines Ltd., Shenstone. Five activists scaled the roof, smashing windows, pouring paint, striking AC units. This was the first ever rooftop occupation that included damage and set this precedent, after sporadic actions prior to Palestine Action had not caused any damage.
16th September – Action at 77 Kingsway + 1 Curzon Street (Lasalle Investment Management)
Late September – Covert CCTV is spotted opposite the address of Huda and Richard. It has been put there by police.
21st November – JLL Hackney office targeted
25th November – Huda and Richard arrested at the border by counter-terrorism police, interrogated and detained under Schedule 7 counter-terrorism laws. Laptops are seized which are later used in the blackmail charges.
14th December – JLL (Unex Tower) targeted
15th December – 30 Warwick Street (JLL) targeted
23rd December – 30 Warwick Street (JLL) targeted
14th January – LaSalle Investment Management targeted
February 3rd – Richard is arrested at home in a set up, allegedly under “blackmail”. Belongings, including passports are taken in a raid on an address shared with dozens of asylum seekers. It is raided again the next day.
Huda talking about arrest straight after
Richard talking about arrest after release
Months later, Richard is officially charged with “blackmail” based on letters to JLL, demanding they cut the lease to Elbit at 77 Kingsway. Huda and Milly later follow suite. The three are all facing blackmail charges, with a potential sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment each.
Photo credit: Palestine Action