Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Palestine Action on the shuttering of the second Elbit Systems location in Britain after the Elbit Oldham factory! Elbit Systems is an Israeli arms manufacturing company with multiple locations across Britain. After less than two years of direct actions, Elbit’s London headquarters, the location of numerous and costly actions, has been closed down. This marks a meaningful victory for Palestine, directly cutting the flow of arms and money enabling the ongoing colonization of Palestine. We are republishing the statement from Palestine Action below:
BREAKING: Palestine Action has forced Elbit to abandon its London HQ at 77 Kingsway — after multiple actions against them & their landlord JLL, we have #ShutElbitDown PERMANENTLY in London! https://t.co/JYmR5ZfoOu
— Palestine Action (@Pal_action) June 20, 2022
77 Kingsway has become the second Elbit site permanently shut down by Palestine Action, in less than 2 years of sustained direct action.
As Palestine Action noted, “Recently, police told Palestine Action activists who were under arrest, that Elbit was abandoning its London Headquarters at 77 Kingsway. Security at the company’s entrance told Samantha Asumadu, a freelance journalist, working for the Big Issue, that Elbit was not at the site and they had never heard of them. The front desk also confirmed that the Israeli arms firm were not there and even denied the company ever was, despite it being well known that Elbit was leasing the sixth floor for many years. A separate security guard confirmed to another source that Elbit had indeed left the building.”
Our 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 & 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. Elbit’s closure comes after weeks of dramatically-intensified action targeting their Kingsway headquarters.
In August 2020, a sister campaign against Elbit’s London landlord, Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), was also launched. It demanded that JLL ‘Evict Elbit’. Multiple & systematic actions took place against the real estate firm, who knowingly leased the site to an Israeli company making weapons used to suppress captive populations. JLL’s sites have been routinely defaced, smashed and doused in the Palestine Action iconic red paint, as activists continued to demand that the landlords “Evict Elbit” and cease profiting from the genocide of the Palestinian people.
We have finished what we started at 77 Kingsway, which was the first Elbit Systems site our movement targeted upon launching. Nearly two years on, Elbit have once again been forced to shut down operations and leave another of their British sites — and this comes only five months after the business sold its factory in Oldham at a loss. We will continue to throw a spanner in the works of apartheid, military occupation and dispossession until Palestine is free.
“Elbit’s London Headquarters once played an important role in coordinating the firm’s bloodstained network of British operations, but not anymore,” says a spokesperson for Palestine Action. “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.
“We will build on the success of this closure and we won’t stop until all eight remaining sites follow suit. It’s a victory for all those who sacrificed their liberty and to all those who supported the movement, but most importantly the Palestinian people. It brings us another step closer to the day Israel’s arms trade is out of Britain for good.”