It’s a win!
After immense pressure from pro-Palestinian activists, Israeli-owned electronics manufacturer, Ferranti Technologies, was forced to shut down its factory base in Oldham.
Activists from Palestinian Action allege that Ferranti has been testing drones and other weapons on innocent Palestinians in the West Bank and around Gaza. Not only that but the manufacturer was also accused of supplying other forms of intelligent technology used by the Israeli government to uphold their apartheid regime in the area.
The group has been protesting outside the factory for 18 months and finally, after 36 arrests and multiple broken windows, their goal has been achieved.
Speaking of the tremendous victory, a PA spokesperson said this: “The sale of Ferranti and the closure of the Oldham factory is a huge victory for the movement. So far, our actions have undermined and disrupted operations – but this news vindicates our long-term strategy.
“Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in production in Oldham. But its not enough that just one of these death-factories shuts down. We want to see Elbit itself shut down for good, and all of their businesses forced out of Britain – we will keep escalating our actions until that happens,” they added.
Elbit, the owner of multiple facilities like Ferranti, has long been the centre of controversy after it was uncovered that they have allegedly had an influential role to play in the death of Palestinian civilians. Their military-grade products including the SkEyepersistent surveillance system and Hermes drones, have been responsible for as many as 2,000 Palestinian deaths, most notably in an Israeli operation known as Operation Protective Edge (2014.) The event was described as one of the “deadliest” bombardments inflicted by Israel in decades.
And to make matters worse, their destruction is not just limited to the West Bank.
The company has also been accused of providing similar weapons and technology to oppress other groups such as the people of Kashmir. Tensions have been rising in the area after Pakistani and Indian authorities have been trying to claim the northwestern region, leaving thousands of innocent Kashmiri civilians, including children, caught in the crossfire. But did that stop Elbit from continuing to provide weapons to them? Of course not.
Another unacceptable aspect of the entire thing is that the UK seems to be complicit in the company’s behaviour. Just last year, the Ministry of Defence awarded Elbit Systems UK a disgusting £102M (approx $140M) contract to supply its Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator “sensor to shooter” system for those out on the frontlines.
But am I surprised? Not really, because it sounds about right for the UK government. Forget all the growing internal issues within the country, ie. poverty, homelessness, poor housing, the NHS, COVID-19 relief options, instead, let’s just spend 102 million pounds on a killer system used to murder civilians in other countries. Great.
This is why groups like Palestinian Action are important to our society. They do direct groundwork to help minimise our involvement in the oppression of the Palestinians. But there’s still a long way to go. This is just one of many victories we would like to see all around the country.