UPDATED: Huda and Richard have been released. However, we ask you to continue to call to tell these agencies to stop their repressive tactics and make clear there is strong opposition to these attacks.
On Thursday, 26 November, two founding members of Palestine Action, Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard, were detained by North Wales “terrorism” police for hours and denied release because they refused to turn over their passwords to their devices. Palestine Action is the direct action Palestine solidarity network in the UK working to end complicity with Israeli apartheid. The campaign to #ShutElbitDown, targeting Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems for direct action protests across the country, has drawn significant attention — and serious repression.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in full solidarity with our comrades in Palestine Action and the campaign to #ShutElbitDown. We urge all supporters of Palestine to take action and demand the immediate release of Ammori and Barnard. We have heard reports that they have been released or soon will be, but this is a continuing threat. Therefore, we also ask you to call the North Wales Police and the Home Office to demand not only the immediate release of the two activists but also an end to the campaign of harassment and persecution targeting Palestine Action and those who stand up against war crimes.
- Call the North Wales central non-emergency police line at: +44 (0) 300 330 0101. Demand to be put through to the station where Huda and Richard were detained, Caernarfon Police Station. Call for their immediate release and an end to the harassment of activists challenging militarism and war crimes in Palestine.
- Call the UK Home Office at: +44 (0) 20 7035 4848. Demand that Huda and Richard are released and that UK police agencies end their persecution and attacks on activists challenging war crimes, apartheid and colonialism in Palestine.
- Join the campaign to #ShutElbitDown. Learn more about how you can get involved – including joining one of Palestine Action’s upcoming inductions – at the Palestine Action website.
Convey these messages:
- Huda and Richard must be released immediately. Their detention – and the use of “terrorism” police to protect Israeli and UK war profiteers – is a transparently political attack on grassroots activists, in support of war crimes.
- The ongoing harassment and attacks on Palestine Action and activists for justice in Palestine must come to an end immediately. The criminals here are those profiting from and supporting Israeli war crimes in Palestine.
We further urge all supporters of Palestine to support the #ShutElbitDown campaign and take action:
As Palestine Action notes, Elbit is an arms country deeply and directly profiting from Israeli colonization and murder in Palestine:
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest privately-owned arms company, making a killing from Israel’s attacks on Palestinian people. It’s biggest single customer is the Israeli Ministry of Defence (IMOD). Elbit has ten sites across the UK, including 4 arms factories.
It provides the Israeli military with around 85% of its killer drones. These drones terrorise the people of Gaza. The Israeli army uses them in daily surveillance and regular attacks. The company’s profits skyrocketed after its equipment was used in the brutal 2014 assault on Gaza, helping the country to seal contracts with militaries all over the world.
In 2018, Elbit purchased IMI Systems, the IOF’s sole supplier of small calibre ammunition. So not only are the drones in the skies made by Elbit, the bullets being shot by Israeli snipers are also made by the company. IMI Systems is known for producing cluster munitions, and because of this, companies have divested from Elbit.
Elbit produces munitions and components for all Israeli attack aircraft. And Israeli F-16 fighter jets and Apache and Cobra attack helicopters are all furnished with Elbit equipment. They have repeatedly been used to attack civilian areas, homes and refugee camps, resulting in thousands of casualties in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza.
Elbit is also one of the main providers of the electronic detection fence system for the West Bank apartheid wall, and was contracted to make the new underground wall around the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Elbit is a company with massive international reach – it sells 80% of its equipment outside Israel. We are calling for a two-way arms embargo.
Of course, UK state repression targeting Palestine activists is no surprise – Britain’s own current-day colonialism in Ireland continues, as does state attacks on Irish organizations. Issam Hijjawi Bassalat is a Palestinian political prisoner currently being held alongside Irish political prisoners in Maghaberry prison in the occupied north of Ireland. And, of course, it was the British colonial mandate of Palestine – and the infamous Balfour declaration – that paved the way for and enshrined Zionist colonialism in Palestine and introduced the repressive tactics, from imprisonment without charge or trial to home demolitions, currently used to target Palestinian resistance.
The work Palestine Action is doing to #ShutDownElbit is bringing the battle to the war profiteers developing and marketing the killing machine responsible for ongoing killings, massacres and war crimes against the Palestinian people. It is a critically important evolution of boycott advocacy to defend Palestinian rights at the most fundamental level. This urgent work requires broad-based support and solidarity. Stand with Palestine Action and stop the repression! #ShutElbitDown!