HSBC - Europe's largest bank - has announced that it has divested from Elbit Systems, an Israeli arms company which builds a wide range of weaponry used by the Israeli military and many other armies around the world.
Elbit Systems, an “international defence electronics company” is Israel's largest weapons producer. Through it's subsidiaries around the world, the company produces a wide variety of high-tech products for the military and security industry.
Thales is a French company, part owned by the French government, that builds a vast range of radars, sonars and electronic surveillance satellites, tactical communication systems and combat management systems, drones, helicopter avionics, armoured vehicles, mortar systems and missiles.
During her time working as an intern at War Resisters' International, Taya Govreen-Segal, a consceintious objector, delivered a talk to the “Britain and Palestine: Past History and Future Role” conference, held at Sarum College, Salisbury, UK, on 13th February. Below is a transcript, providing detailed analysis of the role of the arms trade in the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
On May 28, 2015, in San Diego, California, hundreds gathered for an evening rally and march to commemorate the National Day of Action to Stop Border Brutality. The San Diego activity was part of a coordinated set of non-violent actions where organizations at nine cities across the United States convened various events to raise their voices against increased impunity by border agents who have been implicated in at least 39 deaths since 2010. Led by the Southern Border Communities Coalition, comprised of over 65 organizations working along the US-Mexico border, the coordinated rallies, marches, and film screenings also highlighted the 5th year anniversary of the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a father of five who in 2010 was tortured to death by over a dozen border agents at the San Ysidro Port-of-Entry in San Diego.
On July 6 the sun rose to the news that three arms factories had been occupied, and a fourth blockaded. All four factories are wholly owned subsidiaries of Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems.
Swiss activists have been protesting against the purchase of war drones from the Israeli company Elbit Systems. On 25th May, activists blocked the entrance to one of Switzerland's biggest military bases, where members of the Swiss parliament planned to watch a demonstration of the Hermes 900 drone. This was just one of several actions Group for a Switzerland Without an Army (GSoA) took during the last session of the Swiss parliament.
Through May and June, WRI affiliates across Europe have been taking action against war profiteers and the military. On 26th May, 'Switzerland Without an Army' blockaded the entrance to a military facility to obstruct a sales pitch by Drones company Elbit Systems. On the same day, Belgian affiliates Vredesactie and Agir Pour La Paix occupied the offices of four government parties in protest at the plan to purchase new F-35 fighter jets. On 8th May, ten protesters in Turkey protested against the IDEF 2015 arms fair in Istanbul, despite heavy resistance from the police (you can see a video of their statement in Turkish here). A few days later, arms dealers attending the IDET arms fair in Brno, Czech Republic, were welcomed to the fair by a host of grim reapers and a banner reading "Death stalks Brno".
Swiss activists blockade entrance to military baseThun, Switzerland – Since 9:30am on Tuesday 25th May, activists have been protesting against the purchase of war drones from the Israeli company Elbit Systems. The activists have blocked the entrance to one of Switzerland's biggest military bases, where members of the Swiss parliament planned to watch the Hermes 900 drone.
Since 9:30 AM, activists from different organisations - Gruppe für eine Schweiz ohne Armee (GSoA), Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), Collective Urgence Palestine (CUP) and independent activists - have blocked the entrance to the planned presentation of the Hermes 900 drones, that Switzerland is planning to purchase. No vehicles can go through the main door of the military compound in Thun, which the members of the security committees of both chambers have been invited to.
War profiteering is one of the main causes of war. To keep informed on what groups are doing to resist the merchants of death, you can sign up to WRI's War Profiteer's News. In our last issue we had stories about how the Palestinian BDS movement is gaining momentum, and how it learned from South Africa; how the EU is becoming more and more a militarised and pro-military industry union; how activists in Ecuador are nonviolently resisting the government's plans to extract oil from the Yasuní national park. Regular features of the newsletter include the campaign of the month, which this month highlighted the "Arming all Sides" initiative, which looks at the arms trade during WWI and beyond, and the war profiteer of the month, which profiles Elbit System, the Israeli arms manufacturer, and their increase in profit thanks to the attacks on Gaza.
Elbit Systems is one of the world's largest defence electronics manufacturers and integrators. Established in 1967, and based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit employs 11,000 people worldwide. It supplies the military, navy and air force in the occupation of Palestine, and has profited greatly from Israel's numerous attacks and assaults on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.