The UK welcomed an Israeli arms factory into our town. We shut it down

Activists from Palestine Action hold up a banner on top of Elbit Systems factory in Oldham, northern England, August, 2021. (credit: Palestine Action)
By forcing Elbit Systems to close one of its factories, we showed what direct action can achieve when governments remain indifferent to Israeli apartheid.

By Huda Ammori | +972 Magazine  | Jan 23, 2022

When every attempt to campaign through traditional methods is dismissed, and people’s lives are at stake, it is our duty to take direct action.

Earlier this month, we at Palestine Action received thrilling news: Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems, announced that it had decided to sell its weapons factory in Oldham, a town in the north of England, and leave the area for good.

Through 18 months of sustained direct action, and with the unwavering support of the local community, our #ShutElbitDown campaign made it intolerable for the Israeli arms factory to continue operating on our doorstep. This is a welcome victory for all those who have worked tirelessly to campaign for the rights of Palestinians, and, crucially, for the Palestinian people themselves.

The case against Elbit is clear: its weapons — drones, tanks, bullets and more — are developed and marketed through being “tested” on the captive population of the Gaza Strip, which is besieged under an illegal military blockade. These products are then sold on to other brutal regimes, further violating human rights around the globe — for example, in occupied Kashmir. Yet despite Elbit’s immorality, the British government has been more than happy to assist the company in facilitating such crimes against humanity.

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