Northern Ireland

Queen's faces calls to sack Hillary Clinton after she dismisses Gaza ceasefire

Queen's University chancellor Hillary Clinton. Picture by Niall Carson/PA
Queen's University chancellor Hillary Clinton. Picture by Niall Carson/PA

Queen's University is facing calls to sever ties with Hillary Clinton after the former US secretary of state dismissed calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

She said a halting of hostilities in the Palestinian enclave was “not possible” and that such a move would be a “gift” to Hamas.

Mrs Clinton was appointed chancellor at Queen's in 2020 and is the first woman to hold the role.

Thousands of people joined weekend demonstrations across Ireland calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

More than 8,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel began retaliatory bombing in the wake of Hamas's October 7 attacks in which 1,400 people died and at least 239 were taken hostage.

In a panel discussion at Rice University in the US on Friday, Mrs Clinton said those calling for a ceasefire "do not understand Hamas" and that it was "not possible" to end the violence.

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“It would be such a gift to Hamas because they would spend the ceasefire time rebuilding their armaments, creating stronger positions to be able to fend off an eventual assault by the Israelis," she said.

The 2016 presidential candidate also said that allowing aid into Gaza, including fuel, is a “dilemma” that is difficult to have a “yes or no” answer to.

"The terrorism inflicted by Hamas on the Israeli people has to be retaliated against, and they have to pay a price and be deprived of their leadership position in Gaza," Mrs Clinton said.

"Israel has a right to defend itself, and it has a right to, under the laws of war, retaliate through military action."

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said Queen’s "should have no truck with apartheid Israel’s backers".

He said Mrs Clinton was a "prominent supporter of Israel’s racist, settler-colonial project when in office". 

"She continues to speak in Israel’s defence while it commits genocide against Palestinians in Gaza," the West Belfast MLA said.

“I wholeheartedly endorse calls by Queen’s University students to remove Hillary Clinton from her chancellorship."

Pro-Palestinian campaigner John Hurson said the leading Democrat was "has a record of being on the wrong side of history and this time is no different". 

Pro-Palestinian campaigner John Hurson (right) with Paddy Reilly
Pro-Palestinian campaigner John Hurson (right) with Paddy Reilly

"I believe defending Israeli genocide flies in the face of Queen University's portrayal of the former US secretary of state as a peacemaker," he said. 

"The university should cut its ties with her immediately."

Queen's declined to comment.