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Friday 17th October 2014, 1-3pm Stop arming Israel – Demonstration at Elbit Systems in Shenstone, Staffordshire

Smash EDO is part of a coalition of groups supporting this demonstration:

During July and August 2014, 2,150 Palestinians were killed as Israel carried out another massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip. Entire neighbourhoods were destroyed and mosques, market places, UN relief compounds and schools were deliberately targeted. There was no safe place for the 1.7 million people in Gaza to take shelter from the Israeli bombardment. Israeli unpiloted planes, known as drones, carried out over 800 major strikes. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, supplied many of the drones used by the Israeli military.

Through its subsidiary UAV Engines, Elbit Systems operates a factory in Staffordshire. The company regularly exports military equipment to Israel. Elbit is also a part of the U-TACS partnership manufacturing the Watchkeeper drone for the Ministry of Defence.

Nine campaigners occupied the rooftop of the factory in August. The occupation closed the factory for two days, costing Elbit tens of thousands of pounds, preventing a shipment of components from being exported to the US and shining a spotlight on the flourishing military cooperation between the UK and Israel.

During the attack on Gaza, Palestinian organisations called for a two-way military embargo on Israel. The call demands an end on all military exports to Israel and of purchases of military equipment from Israeli companies.

Israeli companies were the largest exporters of drones globally in 2013. Israeli drone technology has been sold to over 50 countries worldwide. Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are used as a marketing strategy for Israeli drones which are sold as ‘battle tested’, which means they have been tested on the bodies of Palestinians in Gaza.

We are calling for people from across the UK to join a demonstration at Elbit’s UAV Engines factory to demand a military embargo on sales to Israel and from Israeli companies and to demand the closure of the factory.

The demonstration is being held to coincide with the Boycott Israel Network’s gathering in Coalbrookdale, a short distance from Lichfield. We are calling for local groups to arrange transport.

How to get to the demo: The demo is at the UAV Engines factory, Lynn Lane, Shenstone, Lichfield, WS14 0DT

You can take a trains from Birmingham New Street to Shenstone. From London got to Birmingham New Street then change for the train to Shenstone.

Supporting groups:

Anarchist Action Network

Boycott Israel Network

Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign

Bristol Against the Arms Trade

Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Child Victims of War

Corporate Watch

Coventry Friends of Palestine

Disarm DSEi

Drone Campaign Network

In Minds

International Solidarity Movement London

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods

London Palestine Action

Manchester Palestine Action

Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Smash EDO

Stop NATO Cymru

Stop the Arms Fair Coalition

Swansea Palestine Community Link

Walsall Network for Palestinian Rights

West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Wales to Palestine Olive Pickers

Next demo at EDO, Monday 11th, 4pm

As the massacre in Gaza continues it is up to us to take action! Come along to EDO on Home Farm Road at 4pm on Monday the 11th of August to show your disgust at the arms dealers profiting from death and to call for a two way arms embargo against Israel.

Everyone welcome!

A report from last week’s Gaza demo at EDO

For two hours every Monday during the current Gaza slaughter 40 to 50 people have stood outside Exelis (formerly EDO/MBM) to show their disgust at the workers’ complicity in mass murder.

Last Monday 4th August was our third such demo and we had many local people who’d never been there before but who felt compelled to express their anger and disgust at these war profiteers on their own doorstep.

Demo for Gaza outside EDO Exelis

Unusually the gate was closed throughout except to allow workers out in three discrete “clusters” to run the gauntlet of demonstrators together. Some drivers even covered their faces in various ways to hide their shame – something I’m not sure has been seen in the ten year history of the Smash Edo campaign.

A possible reason for their shame might be that last Monday marked the First Centenary of industrialised, mechanised warfare that defined the last century and I would hope that any Excelis workers who later that evening dutifully switched their lights out and lit a candle for the fallen in WW1 will have reflected on their own involvement in the ongoing and profitable arms dealing industry in which they play a small but essential part in its continuation.


Another demo at EDO as deaths in Gaza increase

Stop Arming Israel banner outside EDO during a demo for Gaza

On Monday 28, as the death toll in Gaza reached 1000, 35 people turned up to yet another demo against the arms dealers EDO in Brighton. Unfurling a huge banner which read ‘Stop Arming Israel’ the crowd made noise and vented their disgust through a megaphone directed at the factory. As the employees left, they were told about the ongoing horror experienced by the people of the Gaza Strip, and the names of  some of the dead were read out.

Guernica banner outside EDO arms factory during Gaza demo

Also present was a big banner depicting Picasso’s Guernica. The banner is part of the Remaking Picasso’s Guernica project -a collaborative sewing project which sees ‘the collaborative process of making as a powerful antidote to the destructive powers of war and violent political systems’. On the day it worked as a powerful reminder of the how massacres have to be resisted.