International lawyers call to free Palestine Action prisoners, divest from Elbit Systems

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers adopted a resolution at its Council meeting on 2 July 2023, calling for freedom for Palestine Action prisoners in British jails and divestment from Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Founded in 1946, the IADL is accredited to UNESCO and ECOSOC at the United Nations, and it has sections and members in 50 countries and territories.

The resolution draws attention to the cases of 6 people currently jailed in Britain for their direct action campaigns confronting the Israeli arms industry, as well as dozens more who are potentially threatened with jail time. It also draws attention to international corporations, like Canada’s Scotiabank, that invest in Elbit Systems, an arms manufacturer that produces 85% of Israel’s armed drones. These drones are used in assassinations and bombings throughout occupied Palestine, most recently in Gaza and in the Jenin refugee camp.

The text of the resolution follows:

International Association of Democratic Lawyers Resolution to Free Palestine Actionists and Divest from Elbit Systems

Whereas, 6 Palestine Action activists are currently imprisoned in Britain and dozens more are threatened with potential imprisonment for their role in working to disrupt the production of Israeli weapons on British soil, and

Whereas, Palestine Action’s direct actions have targeted Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, which manufactures, drones, surveillance technology, and tank and fighter jet part, along with U.S. weapons firm Teledyne, which exports weapons to Israel, and Rafael, an Israeli state-owned munitions manufacturer, and

Whereas, hundreds of activists have joined Palestine Action in blockading, occupying and dismantling weapons factories, leading to the loss of millions of Pounds due to the severance of contracts with the British Ministry of Defence and the closure of two Elbit sites in Britain, and

Whereas, on 21 June 2023, an Elbit drone was used by Israeli occupation forces to extrajudicially assassinate three Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian city of Jenin, and

Whereas, on June 26, three activists were sentenced to 23 months and another to 27 months after a conviction for “conspiracy to commit criminal damage” against Teledyne Labtech, a U.S.-owned weapons factory in Wales, and

Whereas, the defendants in this case were prohibited by the judge from arguing their primary defence, that their actions were taken in necessity to save lives and prevent a greater crime and were not allowed to enter evidence of Israeli war crimes in court, and

Whereas, Elbit-made weapons have been involved in attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, assassinations in the West Bank, as well as in British use in Afghanistan and Iraq, and

Whereas, banks and investment funds including Norwegian Pension Fund, HSBC, Danske Bank and Australian Sovereign Wealth Fund have divested from Elbit Systems,

Therefore, be it resolved, that the International Association of Democratic Lawyers calls for the release of all Palestine Action prisoners in Britain and for all pending charges to be dropped against Palestine Action activists arrested for their actions confronting weapons manufacturers and their agents, and

Be it further resolved, that the IADL calls on Elbit shareholders, including Canada’s Scotiabank (Bank of Nova Scotia), the largest single foreign investor in Elbit, to divest from Elbit Systems, and

Be it finally resolved, that the IADL shall cooperate with Palestine Action, their legal team and organizers around the world working to free the Palestine Action prisoners, defend those facing charges, obtain justice for Palestine and put an end to the weapons trade with the Israeli occupation.

Adopted by the IADL Council
2 July 2023

A number of prominent celebrities, scholars, lawyers and activists, including Roger Waters, South African MP Nkozi Zwelivelile Mandela, MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, and many others, have also spoken out to demand that all charges be dropped against the Palestine Actionists. An international day of action is being organized on 22 July in support of Palestine Action prisoners.

Since IADL’s founding in 1946 in Paris, IADL members have participated in the struggles that have made the violation of human rights of groups and individuals and threats to international peace and security, legal issues under international law. From its inception, IADL members throughout the globe have protested racism, colonialism, and economic and political injustice wherever they interfere with legal and human rights, often at the cost of these jurists’ personal safety and economic well being. IADL members in the United States, Canada, France, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Philippines, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Togo, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and India, among others, participated in the Council meeting.