Factories belonging to Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, Elbit System, woke up this morning to groups of protesters demanding their closure.
Protests led by the direct action campaign group Palestine Action were organized to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917, which the campaign group says had “paved the way for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the violent dispossession of 750,000 Palestinian.”
Activists simultaneously blocked Elbit’s many subsidiaries in the UK forcing three of their weapons factories to shut down. They sprayed red paint on the premises in what looks to be a symbol of Palestinian blood spilled by weapons manufactured by the firm.
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The activists claim that Elbit weapons are marketed as “field-tested” on Palestinian civilians, notably Gazans who are mostly children and refugees.
Palestine Action is “a new grassroots network of anti-racist groups and individuals taking direct action to end UK complicity with Israel’s colonial and Apartheid regime.”
“The ultimate aim is to shut Elbit down and end all UK complicity with Israeli apartheid.”
The Balfour Declaration refers to a letter by British Secretary of State, Arthur James Balfour, in November 1917, addressed to a leading British Zionist, Baron Lionel Walter that ‘promised’ Palestine as a national home for the Jews.
“Dear Lord Rothschild,
“I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
“I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
“Arthur James Balfour.”
The British intention of ensuring the establishment of an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine was becoming clearer with time. The Balfour Declaration was hardly an aberration but had indeed set the stage for the full-scale ethnic cleansing that followed three decades later.
In his book, ‘Before Their Diaspora,’ Walid Khalidi wrote:
“The Mandate as a whole was seen by the Palestinians as an Anglo-Zionist condominium and its terms as instrument for the implementation of the Zionist program; it had been imposed on them by force, and they considered it to be both morally and legally invalid. The Palestinians constituted the vast majority of the population and owned the bulk of the land. Inevitably the ensuing struggle centered on this status quo. The British and the Zionists were determined to subvert and revolutionize it, the Palestinians to defend and preserve it.”
Activists and representatives of Palestinian political groups and civil society in Gaza commemorated the 103rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration with vehement rejection, carrying signs that called for a British apology and the dismissal of the colonial legacy that determined the fate of Palestinians for over a century.
(All Photos: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)
(The Palestine Chronicle, MEMO)