A month since Palestine Action launched and out of our actions a movement is building to challenge the UK’s deep complicity with Israel’s colonial and apartheid regime. The last month has seen Palestine Action activists across the country mobilize in support for the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people and engaging in actions to confront the continuing profiting from Israel’s violations of international law, ongoing war crimes and maintenance of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
Beginning on the streets of Manchester with the first banner drop for the launch, the words “Palestine Action” were displayed proudly as news spread of the first direct action that targeted 77 Kingsway in London, an office block harbouring Israel’s largest private arms manufacture, Elbit-Systems. Activists had thrown paint and sprayed graffiti across the front of the building, graffiti demanding “Shut Elbit Down” and stating “Palestine Action” could be seen across the front door.
The next set of actions took to highlighting the deep and ongoing complicity between the UK and Israel’s apartheid regime. Bus posters turned up throughout London, displaying satirical advertisements such as “We test weapons on Gaza Civilians: Elbit Systems” and “Colonizing Palestine Since 1917: United Kingdom”. A poster was also placed in Oldham, home to a Kashmiri community, highlighting Elbit’s role in the oppression of not just the Palestinian people but the Kashmiri people too, reading “Tested on Palestinians, used in Kashmir, Israel’s weapons made in Oldham: Elbit Systems”.
The next major action targeted Israel’s London offices at 77 Kingsway, where activists stormed the main lobby, once again spraying graffiti stating “Stop Elbit” and declaring “Your profits are covered in Palestinian blood!” before being forcibly removed by the staff. As well as Bus Stop posters, activists have been creative with their poster campaign, targeting a number of London buses and replacing their Ads with inventive slogans to display this complicity across the streets of London, The Ads declaring “Stop Arming Israel” and “Shut Elbit Down”.
More Bus Stop Ad Hacks, such as one outside Elbit Systems in Bristol stating “Making weapons to murder Palestinians: Elbit Systems UK” and another outside Parliament declaring “Arming Israel’s apartheid regime since 1966: Elbit Systems”, continued to be placed around the country as activists once again returned to Elbit’s London offices. Covering the lobby floor in paint, activists chanted and held up a banner declaring “Shut Elbit Down” while others visited Elbits offices upstairs spraying the walls with graffiti with “We will be back”.
Following this, activists from “Oldham Peace & Justice” handed in a letter to Elbit-Ferranti’s site in Oldham, clarifying the towns continuing objection and protest to its presence there. This was accompanied by a large-street protest a few days later with a banner calling for “Elbit out of Oldham” and “Elbit Ferranti Stop Arming Israel”.
The continuing silence from Elbit was to be met with continuing escalations from activists. With activists targetting 3 sites in one night, to Elbit’s HQ offices in London, the landlords that continue to harbour Elbit in their offices LaSalle in Mayfair and Elbit-Instro site in Kent. The front of the buildings being covered in red paint, accompanied with 3 letters stating “If you aid war criminals, you are war criminals”, demanding that either they kick Elbit out as actions will continue to escalate until Elbit is shut down.
Following more banner drops in Kent and Oldham declaring “Shut Elbit Down” and “Palestine Action”, alongside continuing protests in London and Manchester, Palestine Action activists latest action targetted Elbit-Ferranti’s offices in Oldham, once again covering the doors and windows in red paint, declaring “Palestine Action” on the walls and pavement with graffiti.
Palestine Action has been active for a month, and in that month we have continually worked to escalate our actions and take the fight directly to the UK’s complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime through the challenging and targeting of Elbit Systems and all those who continue to protect them. We are building a nation-wide movement to end complicity with apartheid, and we will not stop until we have #ShutElbitDown. We invite everyone who cares about international justice, everyone who is committed to anti-racism, to get mobilised, to get organised, and join us in our struggle against Israel’s apartheid regime, and to put an end to the UK’s complicity in it.
Source: This article first appeared on Palestine Action, along with the cover photo.