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Elbit Systems close down London headquarters after activist campaign

Jerusalem24 – After a series of 15 actions at Elbit Systems’ headquarters in London, and just five months after its Elbit Ferranti factory was forced to close in Oldham, Palestine Action has succeeded in permanently shuttering Israel’s largest weapons company headquarters in London.

Since its establishment in 2020, with its staple red boiler suits and red paint, Palestine Action has been active in disrupting Elbit business by blockading, occupying, and defacing the properties of the Israeli arms firm, a campaign which culminated in 60 arrests for which activists continue to face trial.

Palestine Action, a pro-Palestinian protest network that uses civil disobedience tactics to pressure companies to either end their complicity in Israel’s apartheid regime or to close their factories, has been targeting UK-based operations that provide weapons used against Palestinians.

The Elbit headquarters closure comes after weeks of dramatically-intensified action targeting their Kingsway headquarters. Palestine Action’s inaugural action saw activists storm the company’s former central London office, trashing site facilities and spray painting “Shut Elbit Down” and “We will be back” across the walls.

As the campaign continued, tactics included disruptive entry, outdoor and indoor occupations, paint-throwing, and chain-and-lock blockades. The 15 separate actions at Kingsway and simultaneous sister actions against its landlords have culminated in dozens of arrests – 60 in total, for which many activists still face trial.

THREE MEMBERS OF PALESTINE ACTION ACTIVIST GROUP COVER ELBIT’S DOORSTEP IN RED PAINT DURING A PROTEST ACTION OUTSIDE ISRAELI ARMS MANUFACTURER’S LONDON HQ ON MAY 20, 2022. ACTIVISTS ALSO LOCKED THEMSELVES AT THE DOORSTEP OF ELBIT SYSTEMS. [Credit: VX Photo/Vudi Xhymshiti]
“Elbit’s London Headquarters once played an important role in coordinating the firm’s bloodstained network of British operations, but not anymore,” Palestine Action said in a press release. “After ceaseless direct action at 77 Kingsway and JLL, we have brought Elbit’s London operations to an end. Palestine Action has yet to reach its two-year anniversary, and already we have permanently shut down two sites belonging to Israel’s largest arms company.”

Palestine Action added in its release that it will build on the success of the Elbit headquarters closure and will not stop until all remaining sites follow suit.

Elbit Systems still operates at several other locations in the United Kingdom.

When Jerusalem24 visited Elbit Systems’ website this morning 22 June and tried to access the UK site locations page, we were denied access. However, a cached copy of the page from 20 June reveals another eight locations scattered across the UK.

A screenshot of the Elbit Systems UK sites location page on 22 June.
A cached copy of the Elbit Systems UK sites location page from 20 June.

Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms firm, develops airborne, land and naval systems and products for Israeli as well as other militaries, including the United Kingdom’s.

According to Palestine Action, Elbit provides approximately 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet. The company’s earlier models of drones, including the Hermes 450, were used heavily in Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014, which saw 2,200 Palestinians killed in the space of 50 days. Such drones were also used in May 2021 during Israel’s latest 11-day assault on Gaza.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 5 years of experience in the field of reporting and presenting. Currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC and Jerusalem24. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna

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