Michelle O’Neill, the recently elected First Minister of Northern Ireland, said on Thursday that the terrorist organization, Hamas, would eventually be regarded as the “future partner for peace” in the Middle East.
In an interview on Tonight with Andrew Marr on British broadcaster, LBC, O’Neill stressed the importance of communication, comparing the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to ongoing peace talks within Northern Ireland.
In the interview, Marr asked her if the terrorist organization Hamas would “eventually” become regarded as a “partner for peace.”
“A long time ago the [Irish Republican Army] IRA was seen as a terrorist organization. The British Government and everybody else could not ever talk to them,” Marr said. “Do you think that Hamas, although regarded as a terror organization by many people around the world, is going to eventually have to be a partner for peace?”
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“Yes,” O’Neill said, “I think you only have to look at our own example to know how important dialogue is and that’s the only way you’re ever going to bring an end to conflict.”
“If republicans didn’t talk to the British government or the British government didn’t talk to the republicans, in the past in Ireland we would not be in the scenario we are in today, enjoying a peaceful and far more equal society today,” the first nationalist First Minister of Northern Ireland continued.
She also called for an immediate ceasefire and for the application of international law in Gaza.
“And I really only hope that in the coming days and weeks that we can get to a point where we see a ceasefire in the first instance, that we have dialogue, and that we get to the ultimate position of having the Palestinian state recognized and a two-state solution that the international community stands for,” O’Neill said.
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O’Neill argued that Israel was bombarding the Palestinian people and not defending themselves against the Hamas terrorists.
“Anybody can stretch Israel’s position of being one of defense because this is bombardment, day after day, slaughter of the Palestinian people,” O’Neill continued.
“This needs to stop, and we need the international community to stand strong and to stay firm in the court of international law. That’s where everybody must be,” she said.
“And I really only hope that in the coming days and weeks that we can get to a point where we see a ceasefire in the first instance, that we have dialogue, and that we get to the ultimate position of having the Palestinian state recognized and a two-state solution that the international community stands for.’
O’Neill also condemned the unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, saying that they had violated international law by taking hostages.
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“From day one, we’ve said that what happened on October 7 was wrong, and that does not apply in international law in any shape or fashion, the hostages taken was wrong,” she said.
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