Palestine Action is legalizing the smashing of Israeli arms factories

Activists on a rooftop smash windows

Activists smashed up an Israeli arms factory in the UK on Monday.

Palestine Action

For the second time within a week, Palestine Action has won a major legal victory.

UK government prosecutors dropped criminal charges against a member of the direct action group, only one day before trial. Palestine Action campaigns against Israeli drone giant Elbit, which has nine remaining factories and offices in the UK.

Romford Magistrates Court in East London had been set to hear the case on Thursday.

But prosecutors dropped the case, conceding that there had been no “realistic prospect of conviction.”

This marks the third major legal victory for the campaigners since December, when the group’s first ever trial ended in complete acquittal.

The magistrate was convinced by the three activists’ argument that the damage they had caused to Elbit’s Shenstone factory near Birmingham was proportionate in order to prevent a greater crime in Palestine. He found all three not guilty.

And earlier this month, Palestine Action succeeded in forcing Elbit to sell one of its 10 UK factories. Nine remain.

In their second major legal win, last week three more Palestine Action campaigners had their charges dropped on the eve of trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

No wonder the Crown Prosecution Service this week decided that there was an unrealistic prospect of conviction against Palestine Action in London too.

The decision is even more extraordinary considering the events that had transpired in Shenstone on Monday this week.

On that day, Palestine Action chose to press its advantage and return to the same factory in Shenstone which was the focus of its first two legal victories.

Activists then spent hours causing what looked like thousands of dollars worth of damage to the UAV Engines factory – an Elbit subsidiary which makes parts for its killer drones.

They smashed parts of the factory roof, and demolished some of the building brick by brick. The group tweeted out some astonishing videos and photos throughout the day.

The activists made such large holes in the roof that they were able to throw in objects causing more damage inside the building to what appeared to be drone engines.

Six activists were arrested Monday afternoon and released on bail the same evening. They have yet to be charged.

In video statements the next day, the activists explained why they had taken direct action against the killer drone parts factory. “A victory for the Intifada is a victory for humanity,” said one.
The activist whose charges were dropped on Wednesday had last year allegedly sprayed blood-red paint into the entrance of the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair, or DSEI.

“Once again, charges have been dropped,” Palestine Action said on Friday. “It is the war criminals inside the arms fair that should be arrested and tried – not the brave individuals taking action to expose them.”

Elbit had been one of the many arms firms exhibiting at the trade fair.

Meanwhile, at Elbit’s smashed Shenstone factory on Monday, one of the activists’ signs read: “One down, nine to go.”




Once again Palestine Action shows the way. When British magistrates and the Crown Prosecution Service decline to punish, it's time for Israel to assess what's really going on. And as an aside, it's been hard enough to see any benefit to Sir Keir Starmer's leadership of the Labour Party, but let's reflect on this- he was formerly head of the prosecution service. If he were in charge there today, he'd be doing all he could to jail these brave souls.


The reticence of the law in regard to PA has much to do with fear of disclosure. As usual, the people have no idea what's going on because the propaganda system keeps them ignorant. If the principle is preventing greater harm, think of the global harm done by our economic system whose high-falutin' rhetoric of democracy and human rights conceals its brutal pursuit of its narrow self-interest whatever the cost. The rich prosper and the rest suffer, to some degree or other. Time to ditch the rich and respect the rest.

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).