[Boycott - Arms]
Thales Arms Factory In Crawley Blockaded Over Israel Drone Contract
8 April 2016
On the the evening of Thursday 7th April 2016 activists from Inminds human rights group blockaded one of the entrances of Thales UK arms factory in Crawley, West Sussex, for nearly two hours in protest at the company’s collaboration with Israeli arms giant Elbit Systems in the manufacture of drones. An industrial gases supply tanker and other vehicles were forced to use other entrances to enter and leave the factory compound.
The protest was part of a larger protest starting on Friday 8th April by Sussex Stop Arming Israel Campaign in response to a Palestinian lead call for a comprehensive two-way arms embargo against Israel.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "At a time when BDS (Boycott Divestment & Sanctions of Israel) is under attack its doubly important for activists to bring to book those guilty companies that trade in death and suffering of Palestinians. Thales UK has a billion pound contract with Israel's largest arms company Elbit Systems to develop a fleet of drones for the UK military based on Elbit's Hermes 450 killer drone which Human Rights Watch has documented as being used by Israel to deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Its sickening that Elbit markets this killer drone as being extensively 'field tested' in 'real life' situations - using the slaughter of Gaza's people as a marketing ploy to gain a competitive advantage! We don't want these blooded drones on our doorstep in Crawley!"
VIDEO - Thales Arms Factory In Crawley Blockaded Over Israel Drone Contract
We are here tonight outside Thales UK arms factory in Crawley to protest the company’s collaboration with Israeli arms giant Elbit Systems in the manufacture of drones.
Thales UK is a subsidiary of the French arms company Thales which is ranked by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as the eleventh largest arms producer in the world.
Thales UK is working hand in hand with Israel's largest military technology company Elbit Systems in a joint £1 billion contract to develop a new drone fleet for the UK military called Watchkeeper.
85% of drones used by the Israeli military are manufactured by Elbit Systems. Their armed drones are used by the Israeli army in devastating attacks on civilians in Gaza.
Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who worked at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital during Israel's 2008 attack on Gaza described the horror Palestinians suffer under Israel's drones "Every night the Palestinians in Gaza relive their worst nightmares when they hear drones; it never stops and you are never sure if it is a surveillance drone or if it will launch a rocket attack. Even the sound of Gaza is frightful: the sound of Israeli drones in the sky."
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported at least 87 civilians killed by Israeli targeted drone strikes in Gaza during those three weeks. This included a targeted strike against Asma elementary school run by the UN which left 3 dead. The UN had specifically provided the Israeli military with GPS coordinates of the school so it would not get bombed.
The Watchkeeper drone is modelled on Elbit's Hermes 450 drone - one of Israel’s most widely deployed attack drones.
Like most weapons developed in Israel, the Hermes 450 has been tested and perfected on the captive people of Gaza, which allows Elbit to market its star drone as “combat-proven.” They boasts of its competitive advantage in the global arms market due to its extensive ‘testing’ in ‘real life’ situations. This treatment of Gaza as a weapons laboratory to "field test" its armaments on a captive population, has paved the way for Israel to become the world’s number one exporter of drones.
The Hermes 450, outfitted to carry two medium range missiles, is described by Elbit as the backbone of Israel's drone fleet. Human Rights Watch has documented Israel's deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza using the Hermes 450 drone.
We at Inminds are here today in response to a call out initiated by Sussex Stop Arming Israel Campaign as part of a Palestinian lead campaign for a comprehensive two-way arms embargo against Israel.
We demand and end to this collaboration in manufacturing weapons of death!
We demand an arms embargo against Israel!
Ground the drones!
Stop arming Israel!
Sussex Stop Arming Israel Campaign
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
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