Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is republishing and distributing the statement below from Palestine Action on the campaign to #FreeTheElbit2, two Palestine Action political prisoners jailed for taking direct action against the headquarters of Elbit Systems, the Israeli arms manufacturer, on 15 May 2022, the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba. These activists have been denied bail, and their next hearing is upcoming on 15 June. We join Palestine Action in affirming that these two Palestine Action activists, Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai, are jailed as political prisoners for resisting the Zionist war machine, and in calling for action to support the campaign to #FreeTheElbit2.
It is no surprise that the British state is imprisoning strugglers for justice in Palestine; after all, it is Britain that continues to provide ongoing support on all levels to Zionist colonization after its responsibility for creating the Nakba, issuing the Balfour declaration and colonizing Palestine through its imperial Mandate. We urge all supporters of Palestine to take the actions below and to protest at British embassies in your area to #FreeTheElbit2!
Two Palestine Action activists remain imprisoned, after being arrested by police for taking action on May 15th, Nakba Day, the commemoration of the 1948 Nakba which saw 800,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed from Palestine, at Elbit Systems Bristol HQ Offices. Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms company and markets its weapons as “combat proven” on Palestinians. Alongside seven other activists, they made their way onto the premises of the site, covering the outside of the building in red paint before breaking through an office window and making their way inside while other activists blocked road access to the site.
Once the activists gained access to one of the office rooms inside, they damaged equipment belonging to Elbit. The Bristol location, which is leased from Sedgemoor District Council, is Elbit’s main operational facility in Britain. These activists took direct action against Elbit Systems to demand an end to British complicity with Israeli Apartheid.
The two activists, Ronnie Barkan and Stavit Sinai, are both foreign nationals. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) argued that they were both a flight risk and at risk of “reoffending”, due to having been charged with actions taken against Elbit, during the bombing of Gaza in May 2021. The next opportunity to appeal for their release is at their plea hearing at Bristol Crown Court on 15th June 2021. If they are refused bail at this hearing, they will remain imprisoned until their trial (no date set).
This represents a concerted and intensified attempt by the British State to repress Palestine Action amidst increased actions against Elbit Systems operations throughout the country. Palestine Action’s success to date has been used by the CPS as a means in which to target activists in order to protect Israel’s arms trade in Britain. We refuse to backdown to the crackdown and are calling on our supporters to show their solidarity with the two political prisoners.
Palestine Action declares that these activists are being held as Political Prisoners in the ongoing attempt to repress our growing movement and to defend Israel’s largest arms company from being challenged.
This crackdown of Palestine Action and our activists is a testament to the real threat that Palestine Action pose to Israel’s Arms industry in Britain. But as long as Britain continues to maintain complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime, there will continue to be people of conscience who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle to end it.
74 years of British-backed colonization – it’s time to end the complicity. Palestine Action won’t backdown to the crackdown.
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