Palestine Action’s primary campaign #ShutElbitDown have been conducting weekly protests stopping the flow of arms to Israel. [GETTY]

The genocide that is being televised must be understood through a prism of capitalist colonial depravity, including one of its darkest dimensions: slaughter as a marketing campaign. The latest military technology is being demonstrated on Gaza’s captive population. Witnessing a father collect his children’s limbs in a plastic carrier bag changed many of us irrevocably, for the arms trade it was only part of the showcase.

This is not new. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms manufacturer have long since advertised their products as “battle-tested” on Palestinians. However, what is new is that a whole generation of internet users internationally are learning about the vast amounts of battle technology at the IOF’s disposal. It’s as if we are all in attendance at the world’s most ruthless weapons exposition. Civilians are being annihilated with extreme exactitude, something we collectively recognise whether we know why that is possible or not. That is evidenced in the millions of accounts resharing Israeli military footage of target strikes. The reality is that an emergence of “precision munition that can be used against relatively small targets” are being tested before being rolled-out onto the global market. These weapons include the The Moaz, a loitering munition which hovers until a target (a human) becomes available, then it “slams” into its mark. The language I’m using here is taken from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which serves to advise the US Government on economic and military power by cataloguing advanced killing machines.

Angela Davis once said, “radical simply means to expose the root.” The most effective transnational resistance campaign against the Israeli occupation is the one that seeks to dig that root out the mud, to expose in broad daylight the economic termites, the weapons-suppliers of the Zionist entity, gnawing on rot. Palestine Action has done that: tactically unmasking Britain’s central role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Focusing their attention on weeding out the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, which operates from of the UK, the group sustains direct action against the company, rendering conditions which make it nearby impossible to continue operating at profit. This includes practised methods of sabotage, property destruction and reputational damage: dismantling, smashing and spray painting the property of Elbit, or carrying out blockades, occupying the premises and uncovering export licences. These actions happen not just against Elbit themselves but also their subsidiaries, business partners and any company that props up the supply chain. Elbit Systems UK has continually tried to deny their relationship with its parent company in Israel. However, the Palestine Action campaign has given many activists in the UK a knowledge more tangible than simply stating ‘Britain is complicit’; it has laid bare a material understanding of how that complicity looks in action.

Using an analysis of the weapons trade’s economic ecosystem, Palestine Action finds Elbit’s weak points and applies pressure. Forcing a risky environment, so that businesses and stakeholders are discouraged from investing in Elbit and forced to pull their money from the company. This has led to the forced closure of three Elbit sites. Proving that a successful act of resistance does not consider the riches of the occupier to be a fixed reality. A good strategy can, and will, bring them down.

The immoral conscience of the oppressor

If you look through the Israeli Ministry of Defence’s X account, you will find majority posts are videos of IOF military apparatus being advertised through videos of successful attacks on Palestinians. This vile ulterior motive to oppression being so flagrantly displayed is why I recently heard a Pro-Palestine speaker say, “this is not just a genocide”; a sentence that was so gut churning I felt angry at the comrade speaking. Yet it is the most accurate reflection of the economics of murder that we are living under. The very fact that a darker reality exists within the malice of a genocide happening in front of our eyes is the capitalist colonial precedent; see the genocides enacted by the British Empire since the 18th century and how military technology was developed. Colonised people are not “just” treated as wild vermin, but as captured lab rats in an open-air cage.

The immorality of the arms trade exceeds itself; with very few effective sanctions on Israel, there is no need to keep their murderous business models in the shadows. When Agilite Tactical Gear posted on social media showing the IOF in action, with the caption “search and destroy” followed by an emoji of the Israeli flag and a scorpion, they were proudly boosting sales off the back of ethnic cleansing. How was this not a global scandal? It was run of the mill.

Palestine Action monitors the shares of complicit companies to observe the effectiveness of solidarity campaigns. Since October 7th BAE Systems have increased shares by 26.29% (at of time of writing), General Dynamics are up by 23.01%, the list goes on. The Palestine Action strategy is to vehemently sabotage the economics of Israel’s arms trade which in turn splinters their capability to murder Palestinians and their allies. The key target, Elbit Systems, have faced numerous hits to their shares since October and that’s not from ‘praying for peace’ or slowly walking through cities with watermelon face paint, but from a focused and sustained strategy which I’ll walk you through in this essay. Becoming literate in the profiteering of weapons companies is to learn to speak their language; to speak their language is to become fluent in bringing them to their knees.

Who is Palestine Action (the resistance)

“Protest is like begging the powers that be to build a well. Direct action is digging the well and daring them to stop you.” – David Graeber, 2009

Palestine Action is a network of groups and individuals established to take direct action against all operational facilities of Israel’s biggest arms firm, Elbit Systems. The mission is to shut Elbit down and end all British complicity in the illegal colonisation of Palestine.

Since 2020, Palestine Action has been striking Elbit Systems sites across the UK. The group permanently shut down their Oldham factory and Tamworth factory, as well as forcing the company to abandon their London headquarters. Unlike a number of other direct action groups which often use gimmickry as a means of influencing the popular masses, this direct action campaign is concerned with definitive material results. The singular goal is to shut down Elbit Systems, to compromise Israel’s ability to import tools of oppression. We have all seen the clowns behind the uniforms; the IOF rely on advanced military technology to subjugate and massacre Palestinians. Without it, they are clumsy, impressionable soldiers who are often caught on camera falling on their backs unable to hold the weight of their own costume.

In order to compromise the production of Israel’s military equipment, the Palestine Action campaign makes it challenging for their factories to operate day-to-day. Actions are typically lock-ons, occupations or entry into the site to dismantle the machinery needed to engineer hi-tech weaponry. Not forgetting, of course, Palestine Action’s infamous fire-extinguisher filled with red paint which has sprayed many targets in the colour of blood; creating tension between the Elbit site and neighbouring businesses.

If Elbit Systems are forced to shut a factory for a day, it costs them around £40 – 90,000 (that doesn’t include the costs of repairing or replacing building infrastructure or internal hardware, it is the basic cost of losing the value of production for the day due to workers inability to work). Making every action, regardless of how small, a successful hit against their profits. However, in high level actions, the activists have cost Elbit millions of pounds in damage and longer-term or permanent closure.

What we know about Elbit Systems (the enemy)

“One of the enemy’s basic points of strength is its scientific and technological superiority, and this superiority is reflected strongly in its military capabilities which we will face in our revolutionary war.” – PFLP, 1969.

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest arms company. Their range of activities generates vast influence in Israel’s militarised occupation of Palestine. Elbit supplies the Israeli military with 85% of their drones and 85% of their land-based equipment. The company’s contribution to the surveillance state includes - but is not limited to - the technology used for monitoring Palestinians through check-points and across Israel’s apartheid wall, as well as producing the deadly Merkava tanks, missiles and Hermes 900 drone.

Elbit also supplies the IOF with all of its small calibre munitions through subsidiary IMI Systems. Their Hermes drones have been used for extrajudical killings in foreign countries such as Sudan and operations in Egypt, while enabling the slaughter of Palestinians inside Gaza. They were used extensively in the 2008 and 2014 assaults on Gaza, the latter was declared the first AI war and led to the killing of a reported 2,202 Palestinians. Including the devastating case of the Bakr cousins who were murdered by a Hermes 450 while playing on a beach.

Before the election of Benjamin Netanyahu, Elbit’s profits were faltering. Netanyahu ascended as a business-minded politician and when he became Israel’s Prime Minister in 2009, he was a force behind the company’s thriving future. In the fifteen years that have passed, Elbit Systems have fulfilled the Pentagon’s dream of the 90’s: to actualise net-centric warfare. In the case of Bakr cousins, who were four boys between the ages of 9 – 11, the Hermes 450 drone was in a road-test period. It was said that the drone was attempting to “target Hamas militants,” yet it chased the boys down the beach to slaughter them in daylight. In an unauthorised final strike, they pursued the final child who was trying to run away along the seafront and, ultimately, took his life. It was popularly condemned but still considered a “successful” trial of their new product.

Since the emergence of Palestine Action’s relentless presence in the UK, no deed has gone unpunished. In November 2023, only weeks into the ongoing genocide, locals reported of sounds of drones hovering above Al-Shifaa Hospital before it was torn apart by a missile. The attack gave way to the unforgettable image of a press conference being held by doctors who were surrounded by piles of corpses. The following day Palestine Action hit Leicester’s UAV Tactical Systems by driving a van into the gates and continuing the blockade even when the cops arrived, jumping onto the police vehicles and refusing to get down even with tasers pointed at them. In such instances, a special team must be deployed for protest removal, whereby activists will be bound to stretchers and carried down to ground level for arrest (note: the UK’s bureaucratic obsession with health and safety can be used against them to sustain an occupation or blockade of a factory). UAV Tactical Systems was hit the day after the Al-Shifaa Hospital bombing because it is the site of production for the drones used by the Israelis during that horrific attack the night before. The action responded to on-ground accounts; identifying what military apparatus was being deployed in order to temporarily kneecap Elbit’s ability to supply according to demand. Drone sites are never irrelevant, as drones continue to be a haunting precursor to explosions and continue to cause severe impact on the psychological wellbeing of children in Palestine.

Technology is Israel’s wheelhouse, which in equal measure identifies the Zionist project’s Achilles heel. Different sites generally engineering different components for a final product, for example, Elite KL in Tamworth were producing the power management and cooling systems for Elbit’s Merkava tanks. By targeting Elbit’s Tamworth factory the actionists break one link in the chain, which has a knock-on effect across the businesses who are working in tandem to complete the production of the tank before it can be exported to Israel. As of 28th March 2024, Elbit’s Tamworth site was sold off after sustained actions cost the company a 75% profit drop, in part due to the increased cost of security enforcement.

When Palestine Action enters factories and offices, a priority is to destroy or remove databases and software, and then to destroy the hardware. The Bristol 9 did exactly this during their occupation of Elbit’s Bristol HQ in 2022; barricading themselves inside and smashing equipment and dismantling the offices of these war criminals. Other successful examples of confidential files being compromised have been two-fold; here we start to enter a very important stage in the economic sabotage strategy: breached security.

Contract with the Ministry of Defence

Elbit’s Dreadnought Ministry of Defence training contract was agreed on the 9th May 2022, it included delivering training for the Dreadnought submarine and the Royal Navy crews. Just 6 days later, the Bristol 9 entered the Elbit site where the training operations had been consolidated. By entering and barricading themselves inside, they breached the security of Elbit’s contract with the M.O.D. On another occasion, activists from Palestine Action Scotland broke into the factory of Elbit’s partner Thales and again dismantled what was inside – including a completed periscope which Thales specifically built for the Dreadnought-class submarine.

The UK’s Minister of State for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk, confirmed shortly after that Elbit Systems UK had been forced out of the lucrative Dreadnought contract. The contract was worth £160m to deliver Dreadnought itself. This blow to Elbit was followed with the loss of a £123m contract for ‘Project Selborne’ Royal Navy training. The M.O.D. stated that Elbit fell short of ‘operational sovereignty standards for the UK’s highest priority capabilities’.

At the time of losing the contract, the over two-year campaign had broken into the sites of Elbit Systems and its partners over 100 times. Despite increasing its spending on surveillance, security guards, and even maintaining dogs at all sites, Elbit were unable to address the constant threat made to its ability to securely deliver on contracts and handle sensitive material. Their financial losses stacked up, thanks to the activists willing to face prison for the victory of destroying Elbit’s occupational reputation.

Secondary Targets

When the M.O.D. dropped contracts with Elbit Systems, former South African politician and author, Andrew Feinstein noted: “I strongly suspect that they have lost these contracts as a consequence of the direct action group Palestine Action having so successfully revealed the brutal reality of Elbit’s gross human rights abuses, especially in enforcing the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. Not that the UK government will ever admit this.”

What Palestine Action has achieved is an environment of hostility towards any company choosing to facilitate Elbit’s business. An allegiance with Israel’s biggest arms supplier has become a reputational hazard in the UK and in order to avoid being targeted by Palestine Action, companies have cut ties with Elbit Systems left, right and centre. Notably, their recruiters, property managers, landlords, website designers and transport services have refused to continue their association with Elbit. This tactic is economic isolation.

Any company who props-up the production of Israeli missiles, drones and fighter jets is also profiting from blood money. Their offices soon wear their sins when Palestine Action pay a visit. These orbiting companies are the group’s secondary targets. Applying pressure to all businesses who facilitate the functioning of Elbit’s weapons factories is a way to shrink the pool of resources, personnel and quality service-providers that Elbit had at its fingertips. Elbit cannot function alone, therefore the aim is to isolate them by sending a clear message: alliance with Elbit is bad for business.

In just the past three months, a further four businesses have ended their association with Elbit’s deadly trade. These include Elbit’s weapons transporters Kuehne+Nagel, recruiters iO Associates, property managers Fisher German and website designers Naked Creativity.  In the pursuit of secondary targets, the demand is simple: cut ties with Elbit Systems.

In the case of Kuehne+Nagel (K+N), this victory came after a series of actions which first involved activists from Palestine Action breaking into the K+N’s Leicester offices, smashing windows and spray painting the interior. Following that, K+N attempted to disguise the lorries which they used for transporting Elbit’s weaponry from the premises of their Leicester subsidiary, UAV Tactical Systems. This attempt did not go unnoticed by Palestine Action, who listed the company as a target on (the database of UK targets for Palestine Action underground cells), leading to a double action at the company’s Milton Keynes branch and their cargo insurance firm in London. The actions involved smashing their branches’ windows, covering the building in blood-red paint, and messages left behind calling for K+N to “cut ties with Elbit”.

Notably, K+N played a historical role in trafficking weapons to Apartheid South Africa, bolstering the regime in the 1980s. According to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, these shipments were sent to South Africa via Israel. That this £30bn company, long established in drawing profits from the arms industry, has decided that association with Elbit is too great an operational and PR risk, is a huge indicator of a weakness in Israel’s weapons trade.

In order for the campaigning against a business to stop, they must contact Palestine Action and declare their exit from all contracts that bound them to the company. In an email to Palestine Action, the transportation giants did exactly that, declaring they’ve not only ended all association with Israel’s largest weapons firm but that they will not be working with them again in the future. 

In the case of iO Associates, the sole recruiter for Elbit Systems, they were first subject to an office storm. When opening their new offices in Manchester in 2023, a swathe of local Palestine Action activists flooded the offices calling for the company to sever ties with genocide. This is an action where no structural damage is done, but the office is brought to a halt for the day and exposed to the local community for their relationship with war criminals. iO Associates had widely advertised their new offices opening, making it very easy for activists to throw a welcome party, as I like to call it. However, the director of iO Associates, Ross Markall, did not enjoy the party. He was caught on camera assaulting several members of the group, including a fourteen-year-old girl who was attending the protest with her mother. He smashed the girl’s phone in a rampage.

By the evening, iO Associates had removed all job listings for Elbit Systems but only to repost the positions two weeks later. Palestine Action and Youth Front for Palestine (YFFP) joined forces and stormed the offices once again, with a clear message that recruiters for genocidal intent were not welcome in Manchester. When the storms did not secure the necessary outcome, the pressure escalated: Palestine Action targeted four iO Associates sites across the UK, drenching them in blood red paint. The following day an internal email was leaked whereby iO Associates were evicted from their new offices for the reputational risk it was bringing to other organisations functioning from the same building.

After months of impeding their ability to recruit the software developers, engineers and finance managers for Israel’s most notorious defence company, the recruitment officially cut ties with Elbit at the end of 2023.

Palestine Action will continue to target all those who allow Elbit to continue their business of genocide. It has already become ill-advised to go anywhere near the murderers but the campaign continues until Elbit Systems is put in permanent quarantine.

On trial

Speaking in an interview in 2011, David Graeber an anarchist anthropologist who is quoted earlier in this essay, said, “I find the word ‘protest’ problematic. With ‘protest’ it sounds as though you’ve already lost. It’s as though it’s part of a game where the sides recognise each other in fixed positions.” Palestine Action’s strategy with the judiciary system and the government itself, looks beyond the delusion of such fixed position.

I often tell new activists that when an officer arrests you, you are arresting them back. They will be called to turn up in court and face cross-examination to state evidence of how they assessed an activist’s human rights before putting them in handcuffs. Above and beyond that, Palestine Action trials have used FOI’s to expose what the arms trade tries to cover up. One example of this was during the trial of the Telendyne 4. The company had faced almost a million GBP in damage after being targeted by four actionists in 2022. The actionists were kept on remand for 9 months, without bail. In the trial, a representative from Telendyne denied that the company had any relationship to the settler colonial state of Israel. Through FOI’s and detailed open source research, Palestine Action’s barristers presented the export licences that proved the falsity of their claims.

The Guardian published an article in 2023 uncovering the Israeli Government interference with the policing of Palestine Action. It was revealed that the Zionist entity had been putting pressure on the UK Home Office to stop the campaign. This further came out during the trial of the Elbit 8, two of whom were the co-founders of Palestine Action. Defence barristers rightfully pressed the officer in the case as to why a foreign government were given power to intervene with internal judiciary cases here. It is largely understood that Palestine Action have deeply effected the profit margins of the arms trade, which has led to vast persecution of the group’s activists. The courtroom has – overall – been a platform of triumph, to present the depth of complicity the UK has with Israel’s ongoing colonial brutality, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide. For Palestine Action, the trial is not a consequence of resistance, it is part of the resistance.

The expansion of Palestine Action

As we know, all struggles are connected because colonial subjects worldwide are oppressed by a minority elite who spread their tactics of domination far and wide. Elbit’s business model is this: after testing their products on Palestinians, they sell these technologies on to fuel imperialism elsewhere. Their drones have not only been deployed by British military on border operations, but are used by the EU’s militarised border agency Frontex. The same technologies outfitting Israel’s apartheid wall run along the US’ border wall with Mexico, and are used for monitoring indigenous lands. Elbit drones have been purchased in major volumes by India, in turn deploying them in violent military campaigns perpetuating the repression of Kashmiri populations.

In turn, the Palestine Action movement has globalised. Groups in Italy, Germany, America and Canada (to name a few) have built their own campaigns against Elbit Systems and their business partners across the globe. To bring the logistics and profit margins of Israel’s military apparatus to their knees across the Global North will be the fulfilment of a promise that began with a set of dedicated activists targeting a local factory back in 2020.


We cannot ask the UK powers that be to stop arming Zionism, when they are the backbone to Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid. As a group we are majority UK citizens recognising our responsibility to pull up the root of the war machine from where it has festered and rotted national consciousness since the early 1900’s. Refusing to allow the illegal arms trade to function from our doorstep before going on to slaughter Palestinians. The organisation is made up of a collective of Palestinian diaspora, practising Muslims, LGBTQIA activists, Black organisers, middle class, working class and everyone in-between; one of our leading principles is respect towards one another as a means of keeping our eye on the frontier of all liberation movements – the freedom of Palestine.

The economic capabilities of existing in the United Kingdom gives us a margin of possibility through which we can attend to a frontline. One which illuminates the hypocrisy held in that inch of liberty we inherit from residing in the colonial core. We do so with full acknowledgment that despite the prospect (and reality) of our members being imprisoned in the UK, we will not face a violence that is measurable to that experienced by our friends and family in occupied territories.

Our strategy is concerned with leveraging the UK’s global economic power against itself. Ultimately, inducing an existential crisis to a nation hellbent on denial. The network functions by saying less and doing more; we unite not over rhetoric, but through our dedication to taking action. Now.