UK government scraps major Israeli defense contracts after pressure
Palestine Action finds success in pressuring the British government to drop lucrative Israeli Elbit Systems defense contracts.
Elbit Systems in the UK - "Israel's" largest-scale arms company - has been forced out of major contracts with the British government to deliver training for the Royal Navy crews and the Dreadnought submarine, according to Palestine Action.
The Minister of State for Defense Procurement, Alex Chalk, has confirmed that Elbit Systems UK has been ejected from a contract worth 160 million British pounds to deliver training to Dreadnought crews, in addition to negotiating the departure of Elbit from a 123 million British pounds contract to train Project Selborne Royal Navy.
Chalk argues that Elbit falls short of "operational sovereignty standards for the UK's highest priority capabilities."
Chalk made the revelations in response to questions made by Labour MP's Chris Evans and Kevan Jones - who both have connections to the Labour Friends of "Israel" group. Interestingly, Elbit share prices fell 10% over November 29th, falling 18% throughout the month.
Elbit has long attempted to manufacture presence in the UK. Therefore, the loss of these contracts is a blow to the company. In the first place, the contracts were awarded after the Israeli company's intricate involvement in procurement and training for Israeli security across army, navy and air forces.
Elbit's weaponry and products are "field-tested" on Palestinians, and the contracts were awarded after their performance in "Israel."
Palestine Action, a collective action organization, assembled to target Elbit systems and its partners, and pressured the British government and corporate bodies to cut off deals with the Israeli company. Much of their activism included breaking into factories and offices, in addition to breaching security to impede the company's ability to go through with the contracts.
Palestine Action has also had success in closing down Elbit's Oldham's factory, and permanently closing down their London officers.
Andrew Feinstein, arms industry expert, remarked about the recent turnout of events: "The loss of these contracts is a major crisis for Elbit and raises questions about the future of the controversial company in Britain. The government claims that it has happened as part of a ‘sovereignty’ drive, but the reality is that many other foreign defence companies continue to play vital roles as suppliers of equipment and services to the UK’s armed forces. 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."
On Sunday, Palestine Action announced that it carried out action against an Israeli weapons factory, Elbit UAV Engines in Shenstone.