Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with and joins in the demand for the immediate release of four Palestine Action activists in British prison for taking direct action to disrupt the flow of arms to the Israeli occupation. The four activists were arrested after shutting down the Teledyne Labtech facility — which manufactures missile seeker heads, electronic warfare systems, radar technologies used to enforce the Israeli siege of Gaza and drone guidance systems used to operate Israeli surveillance and assassination drones — where they covered the building in red paint, broke computers and smashed machinery.
Their action was even more urgent as the Israeli occupation has recently issued orders to use drones for yet more assassination attacks in the occupied West Bank of Palestine against the growing Palestinian resistance.
These four activists are political prisoners — remanded to prison in pretrial detention for taking meaningful action to shut down the flow of weaponry directly responsible for the surveillance and murder of thousands of Palestinians, not to mention the blockading of 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. This remand to prison also comes as Palestine Action has won victory after victory in the courts, as activists defeat attempts to criminalize their direct action resistance to the British-Israeli war industry.
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 support Palestine Action activists, protest at British embassies, and take action at Elbit, Teledyne and related facilities to demand freedom for the imprisoned four activists and to shut down the war machine targeting the Palestinian people!
We are republishing the statement below from Palestine Action:
Four Palestine Action activists have been remanded after taking direct action to shut down the Teledyne Labtech factory in Presteigne, Wales. According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the group caused over £500K of damages to the factory. Their actions caused significant disruption to the flow of arms from Britain to Israel’s apartheid state. Demonstrators tore up offices, broke computers, smashed machinery and covered the building in red paint and began an occupation of the roof in an attempt to force the factory to suspend its operations.
The group has stated that “Britain is now a hostile environment for all companies involved in the brutalisation and murder of Palestinians. Elbit Systems is one such company, but Teledyne Technologies are another major player. They supply surveillance equipment for Israel’s apartheid wall, and targeting systems for their fleet of combat drones.”
The factory the group targeted, Teledyne Labtech, manufacture technologies “integrated into the world’s most sophisticated defence systems”, including in military radar systems, electronic warfare systems, missile seeker heads, military communications and other capacities. The American-owned firm hold weapons export licences for both Israel and India, where their surveillance and targeting systems are used in the repression and killing of indigenous Palestinians and Kashmiris. Teledyne also produces image sensors for military applications, as well as radar technologies around the borders of the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Israel’s armed drone fleet, deployed in successive assaults on Gaza since the 51-day attack in 2014, are also outfitted with Teledyne targeting systems. These enable Israel to precision target children and schools, as they did in 2014, when 547 Palestinian children were killed during Operation Protective Edge. Teledyne Technologies’ products are therefore directly attributable to the surveillance and murder of thousands of Palestinians. The fact that IDF commanders have been told this year to use drones in targeted assassinations in the West Bank means that Teledyne will be responsible for many more deaths.
The pre-trial detention of activists comes after Palestine Action’s primary target, Elbit Systems, was forced out of a £280 million set of contracts with the Royal Navy. The British state is reacting to a series of victories for Palestine Action, including the closure of an Elbit arms factory in Oldham and of their London Headquarters. Palestine Action has been taken to the courts multiple times but the state has found it hard to secure convictions. Notably in Southwark Crown Court, activists from the group were unanimously acquitted by a jury. Elbit Systems faces a crisis of confidence from the British government and direct action from the British people. Activists have stated that it is only a matter of time before the company is forced out of Britain.
In response to the imprisonment of the activists, Palestine Action states:
“The imprisonment of the four activists is a desperate attempt by the state to deter disruption of Israel’s military supply chain, and facilitate the ongoing military repression of the Palestinian people. Their protection of apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine demonstrates why our actions are necessary. We call for the immediate release of our political prisoners, and vow to continue to disrupt the war machine until Palestinians are also free”
Palestine Action have said that an immediate appeal will be put in to the Crown Court requesting the activists’ release and ask supporters to donate to their legal fund: Legal Defence Fund – Palestine Action