Anti-war activists stormed a factory in Port Melbourne this morning to protest against the Australian government’s support for Israeli’s war in Gaza. They raided the manufacturing compound which, they said, supplies arms and drones for Israel.
Named the Melbourne Palestine Action Coalition (MPAC), it consists of activists from Whistleblowers Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) and renegade activists. The protesters occupied the roof of Elbit Systems and blockaded the front gate.
WAKA’s Spokesperson Sam Castro said, “We are here today to call on the Australian Government to end military trade deals with Israel and cancel all domestic contracts with Elbit Systems.”
The activists blasted Elbit Systems as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial drones used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their ongoing offensive in Gaza. It accused the company to have “profited over the month-long attack with their share prices rising by 6.1% in July.”
Elbit is Israel’s largest military company which sells its drones around the world as ‘field tested’. According to the group, they have been tested on the Palestinian population under Israel’s illegal military occupation. Elbit provides services and technology to the Israeli army including surveillance equipment and drones.
There is evidence documented by various human rights groups, that drones are used to kill innocent civilians in Gaza. Al Mezan Centre, a Palestinian human rights organization, attributes the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinian in Gaza between 2000-2010 by drones, the group claims.
MPAC also accused the Australian Federal Police of spending $145 million for a computer policing system supplied by Elbit Australia after being tried and tested in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in 2010.
With front gate locked up, the activists scaled the wall of the company, then dropped a nine meter banner, reading ‘Elbit Drones Kill Kids In Gaza #BDS’ – a replication of the Israeli Government’s apartheid wall.
They said Israel’s ability to launch devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.
The group said it is shocking to know the fact that Melbourne is one of the most livable cities in the world, yet there is a company making drones near the city. Drones that kill women and children are manufactured in the leafy suburb of Port Melbourne, they said.
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.
The WAKA Spokesperson Sam Castro further said, “This is just the beginning of a global campaign to stop the war profiteering of private corporations off the people of Palestine and others around the world.”
Israel’s military technology is marketed as “field-tested” and exported across the world. Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.
Ms Castro concluded, “We, like many other groups around the world, call on the UN and all governments to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.”