Last Monday, Palestine Action and Extinction Rebellion North joined forces to occupy the Oldham based factory of Israeli arms company, Elbit Systems. Activists called on the factory to be shut down, blocked its gates, and splattered blood-red paint on the building. The groups were protesting the British government’s most recent contract with the arms company, worth £102 million. Elbit Systems is responsible for 85 percent of the Israeli military’s drone fleet, the surveillance technology used for its illegal apartheid wall, and for weaponry that has been “battle-tested” on Palestinians. Despite the manufacturer’s role in enabling human rights abuses, the UK Ministry of Defence remains uncritical and continues to extend its business. During this period of financial crisis, mass unemployment and plummeting poverty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and after a year spent watching our political leaders fail to adequately fund and resource basic lifesaving measures, this contract demonstrates yet again the appalling priorities of this government. Better bombs instead of better hospitals. Profit before people. The direct action organised by Palestine Action and XR should therefore serve as a wakeup call on many grounds. As the XR spokesperson put it, “we will not accept an economy based on devastation, occupation and war. Our communities deserve and want a sustainable, fair and healthy future, for all people.” Furthermore, the significance of the two forces joining together to take a stand sends an important message to those who refuse to see the links between fighting colonialism, structural oppression and for climate justice. “We recognise the overlapping injustice and exploitation that reinforce the struggles so many of us face. Whether it’s poverty wages, obscene inequality, the destruction of our living world, or racist oppression,” the XR spokesperson added.
Malia Bouattia in Palestinian liberation and climate justice: more in common than you might think (english.alaraby.co.uk)