Palestine Action target Somerset Council over Elbit tenant 

Mar 18, 2024 | 0 comments

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Activists submitted evidence of an action taken at Somerset Council, where they covered the building in red paint, hand prints and spray painted messages which read ‘Elbit out’, ‘Evict Elbit’ and ‘Blood on your hands’.

Somerset Council are the landlords of Aztec West 600, the headquarters of Elbit Systems UK. Elbit Systems UK is owned by Israel’s largest weapons firm, who market their weaponry as “battle-tested” after they’re developed through assaults on the Palestinian people [1]. 

The Israeli weapons maker manufactures 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet and land-based equipment, as well as missiles, bombs and bullets [2]. Elbit’s CEO Bazhalel Machlis, who sits on the board of Elbit Systems UK, boasted of how the Israeli military has thanked the company for their “crucial” services during the ongoing genocide in Gaza [3]. 

Since October 7th, Israel has killed over 31,000 Palestinians, injured over 73,000 and displaced the vast majority of Gaza [4]. 

On two previous occasions, Somerset residents have disrupted council meetings urging for immediate action to be taken and for Elbit’s lease to be terminated [5] [6]. Amidst financial issues, the council has made plans to sell all of their commercial properties including Aztec West 600 [7]. 

However, residents have repeatedly emphasised that selling the property doesn’t absolve the council of their responsibility, and before any sale takes place the council must evict Elbit from their property. 

As the council have not yet taken such action, they remain on Palestine Action’s database of institutions and companies who profit from and enable Israel’s weapons trade [8]. 

The local group said: 

“By taking Elbit’s money, our council have Palestinian blood on their hands. By default, they’ve made the whole county of Somerset complicit in the ongoing genocide in Gaza. We refuse to stand by whilst the council continue to ignore our requests to evict Elbit. For the Palestinian people at the other end of Elbit’s weapons, we will continue to take action until the council kick Elbit out of Aztec West 600.”

ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS

If you would like any further information on Palestine action, please contact media@palestineaction.org

Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking action against the sites of Elbit Systems and other companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, calling for all such sites to be shut down.

[1] https://www.whoprofits.org/companies/company/3794

[2] https://investigate.afsc.org/company/elbit-systems

[3] https://twitter.com/ronnie_barkan/status/1731713148430733784?t=X-1yqzZ3gDpJmNJWOHWtiw&s=19

[4] https://www.livemint.com/news/world/gaza-war-israeli-offensive-has-killed-at-least-31-726-people-in-palestine-so-far-73-792-injured-since-october-7-11710750478163.html

[5] https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/24107440.somerset-council-meeting-suspended-gaza-war-protest/

[6] https://www.thecanary.co/editorial/2024/03/01/palestine-action-four-actions/

[7] https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/major-somerset-regeneration-site-could-9015961

[8] https://elbitsites.uk