Protesters shut down four factories owned by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems on 6 July.

The actions were coordinated to mark the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s six week invasion and bombardment of Gaza, which began on 8 July 2014. Three factories in England (Birmingham, Kent and Staffordshire) and one in Melbourne were targeted.

Elbit Systems is a leading manufacturer of drone technology. The company supplies 85 percent of the drones used by the Israeli military. Since 2007, the Australian government has contracted Elbit to supply more than $700 million worth of military and police weaponry.

Over that same period, Israel has inflicted three intensive periods of terror upon the people of Gaza. Operation Cast Lead killed 1,417 people in 2008-09, Operation Pillar of Defence killed 105 in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge killed 2,251 people. These incursions are how Elbit Systems promotes its weapons as “field tested”.

Members of the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) in Melbourne locked themselves to the front gate of Elbit’s Port Melbourne facility at 8am and left the premises at 6pm, preventing vehicle access for the day.

Spokesperson Samantha Castro noted the importance of taking a stand against Elbit Systems in Australia. “By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”, she told Red Flag.