'Not on our doorstep': Activists occupy UK-based Israeli arms manufacturer

'Not on our doorstep': Activists occupy UK-based Israeli arms manufacturer
Activists have scaled the factory of a UK-based Israeli arms manufacturer, demanding an end to UK complicity in Israeli rights violations.
2 min read
03 July, 2019
Activists occupied the roof of the factory to protest UK arms sales[MPA] to Israel[

Activists from Manchester Palestine Action and other groups have occupied the rooftop of an Israeli-owned arms manufacturer for three-days running, a press release said on Wednesday.

The occupation, which began on Monday when protestors scaled the building of the Israeli arms company Elbit Ferranti in Oldham, has led to the factory's days-long closure.

The protest began on the exact anniversary of Israel's 2014 bombing campaign of the besieged Gaza strip.

The action was undertaken in a bid to highlight "the UK's complicity in Israel's human rights violations by increasing their weapons sales to Israel over the past five years". 

"We think that arms companies like Elbit Ferranti should stop operating when it is clear their weapons are being developed through the mass murder of Palestinians," said Adie Mormech from Manchester Palestine Action. 

"We're trying to keep this factory shut so they can't make things which kill innocent civilians."

The protestors are calling for a two-way arms embargo and the closure of Israel's four UK-Based Elbit factories. 

Large banners reading "UK: Stop Arming Israel" have been hung by the protestors from the factory roof. 

Another banner commemorates the 5-year anniversary of Israel's Operation "Protective Edge" on Gaza that killed thuosands of Palestinians. 

"Elbit is Israel's biggest arms company, and it profits directly from the continual surveillance, control and violent repression of the Palestinian people. We demand that it stops operating and that the UK cut ties with Elbit Ferranti. We don't want this company on our doorstep," said Jane Hawes from International Solidary Movement.

Elbit is known for the production of drones, which they describe as the "backbone" of Israel's fleet.

Elbit Systems also recently acquired Israeli Military Industries (IMI), the sole supplier of small-calibre ammunition to the Israeli army.

Israel has recently come under fire by the United Nations, which said it committed "crimes against humanity" in its response to the mostly non-violent Great Return March protests. Israeli snipers targeted people clearly identifiable as children, health workers and journalists.

The UK has issued £221m worth of arms licences to defence companies exporting to Israel, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade 2017 figures.

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