Sunday, August 24, 2014

Protesters occupy Israeli arms factory in UK - World Bulletin


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Protesters occupy Israeli arms factory in UK
Protesters occupy Israeli arms factory in UK

The group are now staging the second day of the factory's occupation from the rooftop and have demanded the of closing the factory belonging UAV Engines Limited, a UK registered company owned by Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons company.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pro-Palestinian activists in the UK have chained the doors of a factory believed to be owned by an Israeli military company which manufactures drone engines for Israel shut.

The activists, claiming to be from the London Palestine Action Network, occupied the roof of the arms factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire in the early hours on Tuesday, chaining shut the main gates to the factory before scaling the roof.

The group are now staging the second day of the factory's occupation from the rooftop and have demanded the of closing the factory belonging UAV Engines Limited, a UK registered company owned by Elbit Systems, Israel's largest weapons company and the world's largest manufacturer of drones.

Draping a banner reading "UK: Stop arming Israel" over the side of the building, protesters spent the morning reading out names of those killed since the latest conflict began.

One of the protesters, Sara Cooper, was quoted by Occupy London saying: "By allowing this factory to export engines for killer drones to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel's massacres."

"The UK government has blood on its hands and must end its support for Israel's crimes against humanity by ending all forms of military cooperation with Israel, starting by closing this factory. We demand the UK government stop arming Israel."

"Israel is only able to murder Palestinian civilians in cold blood and attack UN schools and hospitals because of the huge military cooperation it enjoys with companies and governments around the world. This factory is the clearest example of the vast military cooperation taking place between the UK and Israel."

"Elbit Systems markets its drone technology as 'battle tested', a sickening boast that their drones have been proven to be effective at killing Palestinians. The UK government is importing technology that has been developed during the course of Israel's crimes against humanity."

According to The Guardian, police arrested a man on Wednesday morning "on suspicion of aggravated trespass following negotiation" and have closed the road into village where the factory is based.

Chief inspector Jane Hewett from Staffordshire police told The Guardian: "We have a number of officers in the area who are maintaining order and keeping the peace as well as ensuring the safety of protesters, emergency teams and the wider public.

"We are providing fair and balanced policing at the site and have a number of specialists in attendance including police negotiators who are working to resolve the incident safely.

"This appears to be an organised and planned protest and we are investigating the circumstances of how the protesters came to be on the roof."


A report revealed earlier this week showed the extent to which the British government has been supplying Israel with military equipment ranging from weapons control and targeting systems to ammunition, drones and armoured vehicles which are being used in the bombardment of Gaza.

Documents shown to The Independent revealed that arms export licences worth £42m had been granted to 130 British defence manufacturers since 2010 with the aim of selling military gear to Israel.

Lawmaker Katy Clark of the Labour Party opposition told The Independent: “By refusing to investigate this vital question the British Government are trying to bury their heads in the sand. This is a shameful approach to take and frankly makes the Government look as if it has something to hide.

“The British public have the right to know the level of support which the United Kingdom has provided to the Israeli armed forces through arms sales.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) member Andrew Smith told The Independent, “There must be an immediate embargo on all arms sales and military collaboration with Israel. When governments sell weapons into war zones they cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for what happens when they are used.”

To this, a statement read by a British government spokesman replied: “We are currently reviewing all existing export licences to Israel. All applications for export licences are assessed on a case by case basis against strict criteria. We will not issue a licence if there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression, or if there is a clear risk that it would provoke or prolong conflict.”

"We are currently reviewing all export licences to Israel to confirm that we think they are appropriate," a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters. The decision to conduct the review was taken last week, she said.

Almost 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israeli forces began pounding the blockaded enclave with air, sea and ground assaults on July 7.

Most of those killed were civilians, around a quarter of whom were children.

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