On Saturday 9th August I joined other protestors in Queens Square Wrexham, in solidarity with the people of Gaza. We stand in solidarity not only with the Palestinian people but also with many Israelis who, believing their government’s racist policies to be wrong are making their voices heard.
In the square, outlines, names and ages were chalked onto the pavement of a few of the child victims of Israel’s indiscriminate killing. Some people handed out leaflets, whilst others held placards or waved Palestinian, Welsh and Peace flags. Speakers talked of the history of Palestine and referred to the diplomatic cables leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning which have exposed Israel’s lies about war crimes against Palestine. People were urged to join the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel until it fulfills its obligation under international law.
Once the speakers had finished we walked the short distance from the square to Wrexham’s Barclays Bank, where around 25 people peacefully walked into the bank, whilst others remained outside. We sat down within the bank and gave leaflets to customers explaining the protest and Barclay’s involvement with the arms trade. The bank staff decided to lock the doors but did let a few people in one by one, some of whom turned out not to be customers but supporters who came in to make a donation, we applauded their generosity. (Along with other donations collected at recent town centre actions a total of around £560 has been collected, which will be donated to The Welfare Association’s Palestine Emergency Campaign). Some of the names and ages of the children were read out in the bank, a speaker talked again about BDS and another speaker talked about his reason for attending the protest. When the police arrived they made no attempt to end the protest they simply stood and waited until we voluntarily decided to bring it to a close after around half an hour.
On the 23rd July 2014, Barclays issued a statement ‘setting the record straight’ regarding allegations of Barclays and the defence industry. In the statement they say ‘Barclays hold a very small number of shares in Elbit Systems Ltd’.
Elbit Systems Ltd is an Israeli defence contractor with headquarters in Israel, they provides security surveillance around Palestine and sells drones and spy technology around the world. Israel’s primary armed drone (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) is the Hermes, produced by Elbit Systems Ltd it is responsible for the killing of civilians’ by its launched missiles.
On the 27th July 2014, Bloomberg L.P stated that Elbit Systems U.S. traded shares have advanced 6.1 percent to £63.01 since fighting intensified on July 8,. Stocks are close to the highest level since 2010 whilst its valuation on a price to earnings basis is near the most expensive in five years.
Barclays have not ‘set the record straight’ they have simply stated that they are involved with the Elbit Systems Ltd. Sir David Walker (Barclays Chairman), Antony Jenkins (Barclays Group Chief Executive) and the other 12 members of the board seriously need to address the ethics and integrity of Barclays Bank with immediate effect.
Kirk Sollitt served in the British Army during the Gulf War, he is now a member of Veterans For Peace.