Another victory for Palestine Action, another defeat for Israeli arms dealer Elbit! #ShutElbitDown

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network congratulates Palestine Action for another court victory over Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit, only days after the company announced it had sold off its Oldham factory and facilities and one month after three more Palestine Action activists were found not guilty for defacing Elbit properties. The case against three activists was dropped due to police failings and an inability to produce evidence, before the three even began their defense.

Once again, this victory in a series of achievements shows that strong, direct action can extract a real cost from those responsible for the colonization of Palestine and profiteering from Israeli war crimes. Palestine Action is only building and escalating the campaign to #ShutElbitDown entirely. Visit Palestine Action to learn more about the campaign to #ShutDownElbit and how you can get involved in your area to take action! 

The original Palestine Action statement follows:

Three Palestine Action activists have had the case against them dropped in a trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court. After taking on a company complicit in Elbit’s business of bloodshed, ‘abuse of process’ by the prosecution has led to these activists being cleared of charges. This was the second ever trial of Palestine Action activists, and they – like the first activists to go on trial – have walked free again in another humiliating showing in the Courts for Elbit.

The CPS offered failed to offer evidence on charges of criminal damage, aggravated trespass, and resisting arrest, after overcharging activists following serious failings by the police. Notably, the CPS failed to produce the silver command police log. The trial was therefore concluded before activists, represented by Lydia Dagostino at Kelly’s Solicitors, were able to present their case on the necessity of taking action to end British complicity in Israeli war crimes.

This victory is hugely significant, coming just a month after another three activists were similarly cleared of ‘criminal damage’ for a blockade of an Elbit factory. In their only two trials to date, Palestine Action have won – with even the courts system appearing to understand the necessity, and proportionality, of taking action to undermine British complicity in Israeli war crimes.

None of the activists who have faced trial thus far have been successfully prosecuted, with the action taken being shown in court to be necessary and proportionate in light of war crimes and human rights abuses committed with Elbit products. If even the courts system is able to recognise this, and the CPS are unable to present a viable case, Palestine Action have called for an end to police harassment, intimidation, and their causing of physical injury when arresting activists – with these arrests consistently failing to reach prosecution.

On the day of the action itself, 5th July 2021, three female Palestine Action activists shut down the Vine Property Management site in Birmingham as part of a wider campaign targeting the suppliers, partners and landlords of Elbit Systems Ltd. Prior to this, other activists chained the gates shut, occupied the roof and sprayed the site with red paint to signify its complicity in the murder of the Palestinian people. The action successfully brought operations to a halt, with activists demanding an end to the firm’s complicity in Elbit’s operations and by extension, in Israeli war crimes.

Vine Property Management trades under the Fisher German banner after a 2019 merger and is responsible for the operations, maintenance and oversight of Elbit subsidiary UAV Engines Factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire. This factory manufactures engines which are used in Elbit’s Hermes and Watchkeeper drones, with the Hermes drone being described as the ‘backbone’ of Israeli surveillance and targeting missions. It also possesses lethal capabilities which are deployed against civilian targets in Gaza.

On the day of the occupation, a Palestine Action spokesperson stated the following:

“The production of arms, drones, and military technology relies on an interconnected and massive network of complicit firms – Palestine Action are dismantling this network, demanding that firms cease their partnership with Elbit unless they want to be shut down along with them. The message to all other firms with Palestinian blood on their hands is simple: until you end your facilitation of Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinians and sever ties with Elbit, Palestine Action will shut you down and cease your contribution to genocide for you.”