Sinn Fein rebukes councillor who called on U.N. to bomb Israel


(JTA) — Sinn Fein distanced itself from a councilor in an Irish city who called on the United Nations to bomb Israel.

John Hearne, a councilor representing the Sinn Fein party in the southeastern city of Waterford, said in a July 18 radio interview that he believed the United Nations should start shelling Israel in a bid to end the latest Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“Well, I’d prefer if the United Nations started shelling Israel,” he told WLR FM.

Sinn Fein on Thursday distanced itself from Hearne’s remarks and noted that the United Nation is not a war-making entity.

“Cllr. Hearne’s comments are not reflective of Sinn Fein’s position on the situation in Gaza,” the party said in a statement. “The stated mission of the UN is to foster peace and security.”

Sinn Fein’s posture, it said, according to The Journal, an Irish news site, was to support an “inclusive peace process” and that in the current conflict “Israel must halt its assault on Gaza. The blockade must be lifted immediately. Also, the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel must end.”

Sinn Fein, at one time associated with the Irish Republican Army, has historic ties to Palestinian groups.

Hearne cited past IRA attacks in justifying violence as a means of pressuring nations.

“You have to get them to the table,” he said. “The English were never coming to the table until Canary Wharf happened.”

The 1996 IRA bombing at Canary Wharf in London killed two people and ended a cease-fire; the sides in the Northern Ireland conflict eventually returned to the table and by 1998 had signed the Good Friday Agreement.

Hearne’s comments remained unnoticed until a Waterford-based senator from Fine Gael, another party, read them into the Irish senate’s record on Thursday.

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