Intense Palestine Action

IssueJune - July 2024
Workers for a Free Palestine held four blockades on May Day – at the ministry for business and trade in Central London (above) and at 3 BAE Systems arms factories: in Wales, Glasgow & Lancashire. Photo: Polly Smythe via Twitter
News by PN staff

It’s difficult to report on Palestine Action (PA), partly because they have carried out so many actions (at least 24 since our last issue), and partly because their website has suffered from sabotage.

The big victory the direct action group has claimed since our last issue is the closure of a Tamworth factory owned by Elbit Systems, the Israeli drone manufacturer.

On 28 March, PA said ‘the Israeli weapons maker was forced to sell due to increased security costs which cut their profits by 75%’. The new owners have written to PA to confirm that the factory is no longer associated with Elbit and is no longer involved in making weapons.

PA also celebrated three acquittals.

Blyth Brentnall was found not guilty at Wood Green crown court on 9 April of ‘possessing articles to commit criminal damage’ despite admitting having eggshells filled with tomato ketchup, and intending to throw them at the London offices of Elbit UK in May 2021.

She had opted for a jury trial. After telling the jury about Elbit and how its weapons are used against Palestinians, Blyth told the jury that they were allowed to make up their own minds about the verdict and ignore the judge’s direction to convict her. They took an hour to acquit her. (Blyth was also acquitted in an XR women’s action last November, see PN 2669.)

On 24 May, two PA activists were acquitted of criminal damage by a jury in Leicester crown court after an hour and 40 minutes of deliberation. They had occupied the roof of UAV Tactical Systems, an Elbit drone factory in Leicester, from 19 – 25 May 2021.

On the other hand, a judge at City of London magistrates court found three PA activists guilty of ‘aggravated trespass’ on 10 April after an earlier action at a Lockheed Martin weapons facility. PA gave few details of the case except that the three were only given conditional discharges and community service.

In other news, on 25 April, PA says that 15 people were arrested in a raid in Bristol for allegedly conspiring to commit criminal damage. No more details have emerged yet.

24 actions

Recent PA actions include blockades of: Elbit’s UAV Engines factory in Shenstone (3 April, 8 April, 30 April, 15 May); the Elbit drone factory in Leicester (4 April, 11 April, 22 April, 8 May – two of these involved ramming vehicles into bollards or a building); the business park in Kent housing Elbit’s Instro Precision weapons factory (15 April); and Elbit’s Bristol logistics hub (2 May).

Other actions include: occupations of the Teledyne arms factory in West Yorkshire (2 April, 15 May); spraypainting of Somerset council, owners of Elbit’s Bristol headquarters (4 April, 18 April); spraying the London offices of Thales, an arms company (8 April), the ministry of defence in Central London (10 April, with Youth Demand), PR company ADS Group (10 April), Elbit supplier Avnet in Berkshire (10 April) and several banks: Barclays (Croydon: 18 April; London and Manchester: 1 May), BNY Mellon (London: 15 April, Manchester: 1 May) and Scotiabank (London: 17 May).