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by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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August 5, 2014 - 6:29 am
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The International Business Times reports:

Pro-Palestine activists have shut down a factory in Staffordshire owned by an Israeli military company in protest at the current Gaza conflict.

Members of the London Palestine Action group scaled the roof and chained the doors of the UAV Engines Limited factory in Shenstone.

UAV states that it produces “engines for various size tactical UAVs, target drones and single mission platforms”. It is owned by Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems.

London Palestine Action are demanding a closure of the factory, as well as an “end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel”.

The group unfurled banners on the roof of the factory with the slogans “Elbit Arms Israel Kills” and “UK: Stop Arming Israel” as part of the ongoing protest.

The link between UAV and Israel has long been a subject of British speculation. A 2009 article in the Guardian reported:

UAV Engines, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engines for drones - unmanned aerial vehicles that are becoming critical frontline systems for military and civilian use around the world.

The company, known as UEL, is owned by the Israel drone specialists Silver Arrow, a subsidiary of the Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems.

One of its rotary Wankel engines is used in Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone. A version of the 450 makes up a squadron of the Israeli air force and has been seen over Gaza in the current conflict, being used for surveillance and targeting for Israel’s F-16 strike fighters.

Commentators on reputable defence and aviation journals and Elbit’s own website suggest that the Lichfield factory produces engines for the Hermes.

But Elbit’s head of corporate communications, Dalia Rosen, has denied this. She said: “UEL engines are provided to the British UAV programmes and to other international customers, not to Hermes 450 in the service of the IDF [Israel Defence Forces].”

When provided with references she replied: “If you want me to confirm a false speculation you can do it, but I strongly recommend that you trust my comment.” She did not respond to a request asking which other engine could be used.

The Middle East Monitor, a pro-Palestinian media agency dedicated to “creating new perspectives,” issued a report on the factory protest in Staffordshire. Referring to the protesters as “occupiers” who are pursuing a new front in the battle against UAV and Elbit, the report detailed:

The occupation comes the day after the UK government pledged to investigate whether any of £8bn of arms exported to Israel in the last 5 years are being used in Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.

Currently, British police have cordoned off the area around the factory and are working to “ensure the protest remains peaceful and safe.” An estimated 10 protesters are on the rooftop, many of whom are live tweeting photos and messages “…saying they have enough supplies to ‘last a week’.”

Susan L.M. Goldberg is a writer with a Master's in Radio, Television & Film and a PhD in Life who would be happy roaming the fields of Prince Edward Island with Anne of Green Gables, were it not for her strong belief in the axiom "all that is required for evil to prevail is for good women to do nothing." She prefers the career title "Renaissance Woman" and would happily be bar mates with Ann Coulter, Camille Paglia and Dorothy Parker. Her writing tends towards the intersection of culture, politics and faith with the interest in starting, not stopping the discussion. Follow her on Twitter @SLMGoldberg and @winegirlblog.
Top Rated Comments   
One expert rifleman, 10 rounds. Next problem.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why on earth is Israel doing ANY business what so ever with the UK?

Nothing the UK makes can't be bought for less cost and higher quality elsewhere. The only reason I can think of is that Israel wrongly believes that English businessmen will try to pressure the UK gov't in its behalf.

Israel should boycott the UK, Spain, and the entire EU immediately.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Egypt and Israel do the same thing to Gaza for producing rockets.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
One expert rifleman, 10 rounds. Next problem.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
if the way down from the roof were removed, then the problem would go away in a few weeks.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Be a real shame if the rooftop protesters had 500 lbs of pigeon siht dumped on them.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why on earth is Israel doing ANY business what so ever with the UK?

Nothing the UK makes can't be bought for less cost and higher quality elsewhere. The only reason I can think of is that Israel wrongly believes that English businessmen will try to pressure the UK gov't in its behalf.

Israel should boycott the UK, Spain, and the entire EU immediately.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because Israeli companies seek profit. Elbit signed a deal with UK to sell them their Hermes 450 UAVs which the Brits designated as "Watchkeeper WK450".
Part of the deal was that the UAVs be produced locally, so it teamed with UK's Thales corporation to produce the drones there. IAF Hermes drones were flying with Israeli produced engines long before that production line was set up.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why? Because Israel is not a dictatorship. If Israeli companies want to do business overseas, even in Britain, there's nothing to stop them.

If British-made motors for drones become scarce, someone else will step up to the plate and make them more cheaply and more dependably.

To the protesters I would say: if ever you are up against a determined military force, pray with all your might that they are as ethical as the IDF. You'll be praying in vain, because, so far as I know, NO military force takes better care of its enemy's civilians than the IDF does.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if it is realistic to make sure all Israeli weapons are made entirely in Israel? If I were Israeli, I'd certainly feel safer if I knew that all of my systems were right there in my own country and I had no dependence on foreigners to supply essentials.

Then again, I suppose EVERY country gets some of its military gear from other countries. Or the materials used to make that gear. Or the tools used to make the materials that makes the gear.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wait until they start throwing rocks
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wankel engines are still being made?
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, it's one of the most thermodynamically efficient heat engines.
6 weeks ago
6 weeks ago Link To Comment
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