CAAT has been sent the following statement by campaigners in Bristol:
On the morning of the 25th October, a crowd of around 30 people gathered outside Elbit Systems’ HQ in North Bristol to protest against Elbit’s direct complicity in the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine and genocide of the Palestinian people. Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms company. It makes the majority of the drones which are currently being used to bomb Gaza, and the majority of the small calibre ammunition to the Israeli military. Elbit profits directly from the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and has seen its shares rise dramatically in recent weeks as Israel’s military offensive has intensified.
The death toll in Gaza is now over 5000, and with each bomb dropped on a family in Gaza, Elbit’s CEOs and shareholders see more money in their pocket. Elbit are just one of many corporate war criminals based in Bristol who sell arms to Israel – alongside companies like Boeing, BAE Systems, and Airbus – and their HQ was targeted last year by activists with Palestine Action. Today’s action was therefore part of an ongoing struggle fought by Bristolians who do not want to see their city tainted with blood money that will only intensify as Elbit and Israel’s crimes multiply.
Arriving bright and early with banners, flags, megaphones, and a powerful speaker blaring Palestinian resistance music, we greeted these criminals on their way to work, aiming to disrupt the façade of normality by which atrocities are enabled in comfortable offices. Upon arrival, we noticed Elbit had chosen not to display their name on the entrance, presumably out of a fear of being targeted for their crimes.
Two overzealous security guards on the entrance were promptly joined by police officers aiming to intimidate the crowd into leaving. As always, the police turned up to protect private property and defend Elbit’s right to continue manufacturing weapons to be used in war crimes. Despite the introduction of various draconian anti-protest laws in recent years, and the government’s recent declaration that waving a Palestine flag could be seen as supporting terrorism, we were not deterred by their presence and continued to wave our flags proudly. We can take this as a lesson to always fight and contest whatever repressive boxes they try to put our movements into, and to always call their bluff. This demonstration has illustrated the need to come together and break the feelings of powerlessness that so many of us have felt in recent weeks watching atrocities on our screens from afar.
To this end, we urge everyone reading this to attend the march for Palestine this Sunday – 29th October, which will depart from Shah Jalal Mosque in Easton, Bristol at 2pm and march to College Green. Now more than ever, our solidarity and our strength in numbers is vital in fighting the media and the state’s dehumanisation of the Palestinian people and supporting the resistance of the Palestinian people across Palestine and beyond.
We must remind ourselves that while the bombs that are dropped may be thousands of miles away, the offices where they are ordered are just the other side of the motorway. We are in the belly of the beast and it is our responsibility to aim to break the chain of Israel’s weapons industry at its source. Britain began colonising Palestine in the first place and has fully supported Israel’s ongoing colonisation ever since. Until this entire system is broken, it must never be business as usual for Elbit and all the other companies, states, and institutions that are perpetrating genocide in front of our eyes.
For the latest information on UK arms supplies to Israel, see CAAT’s fact sheet.