Palestine Action activists have been challenging Israeli weapons manufacture Elbit Systems for around 18 months with dozens of occupations, blockades, and destructive interventions.

On Monday, six activists carried out what may have been the boldest yet, occupying the roof and over the course of several hours, destroying skylights, smashing windows, CCTVs, specialist air conditioner systems. They also attacked the walls of the building, removing brickwork. After using repurposed fire extinguishers to spray red-blood paint into the factory, they dropped them, along with bricks, onto equipment below, including two visible drone engines.

This bold action follows news that Elbit announced the complete closure of their subsidiary in Oldham, which has been similarly targeted on many occasions.

It also follows the acquittal of three activists who blockaded the same Shenstone UAV Engines factory last year, after they successfully argued that their actions had been proportionate and necessary. They were found not guilty of criminal damage.

Earlier this month the trial against activists who had targeted the landlords of the Shenstone plant collapsed. The court dropped all charges, which included criminal damage, resisting arrest, and disobeying police orders related to suspected aggravated trespass.

A Crown Court trial due to begin in January was adjourned with no new date after apparently no judges were available.

Despite a huge amount of damage caused, likely to put the factory out of business for weeks, the six were only held by police for a few hours, and released later that evening on police bail “under investigation” with no charges.

Years before the current campaign (which began in the summer of 2020), a trial of pro-Palestinian activists collapsed when Elbit refused to produce documents to the court.

In August 2020 Real Media published a piece called Elbit – a most forgiving arms company and 18 months and many millions of pounds worth of damage and lost business later, it’s still looking like Elbit simply don’t want to be challenged in court.

We have contacted Elbit on several occasions for comment, but they appear to have a policy of no comment.