Over the last two months, Palestine Action (PA) has continued its direct action campaign against Elbit Systems UK, the British subsidiary of the Israeli drone manufacturer. PA has also opened up a US branch (which has taken action in Massachussetts and New Hampshire), supported several activists on trial (still ongoing at the time of going to press) and taken action in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
On 5 October, PA added to its acquittals score when one of its activists was found not guilty of criminal damage.
Sohail Sultan, 21, occupied the roof of an Arconic factory in Birmingham in June 2021, on the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell fire, and then inflicted property damage inside the factory – with a total bill estimated at over £500,000.
Arconic supplied flammable cladding to Grenfell Tower and also, according to PA, supplies components and materials for combat helicopters and fighter jets used by the Israel defence force (IDF).
Sohail was represented by Hamish McCallum from Garden Court North Chambers, instructed by Lydia Dagostino from Kelly’s Solicitors.
There have almost been more PA actions than we can count, several simultaneous. The main focus has been Elbit.
PA has put pressure on iO Associates, the only recruiters for Elbit Systems UK. On 9 November, PA sprayed red paint on iO Associates offices in Bristol, London, Manchester and Reading. It is said the recruiters have been asked to leave their Manchester office block.
There have been other simultaneous actions. On 26 October, PA blockaded Elbit-owned Instro Precision in Kent (they went back again on 6 November) and also disrupted work at two factories in Leicester: Elbit’s UAV Tactical Systems and arms manufacturer Howmet Fastening Systems.
On 31 October, PA blockaded Elbit’s headquarters in Bristol and occupied the roof of its weapons factory in Shenstone, 100 miles away.
There have also been actions at Teledyne e2V in Chelmsford, Essex (29 September); the BBC headquarters in London, Broadcasting House (14 October); Elbit’s Leicester factory (18 October); the foreign office and the London headquarters of arms company Leonardo (2 November).
On 10 October, PA published a 50-target-map of British companies involved in Elbit’s operations, as well as a handbook for direct action groups, Palestine Action: The Underground Manual.