Mairead Maguire: Israel’s ‘Genocidal Policies’ Have to Change for Peace in Palestine


Ahmet Gurhan Kartal interviews Mairead Maguire | Anadolu Ajansı - TRANSCEND Media Service

27 Jun 2024 – ‘You cannot build peace on a genocide,’ says Mairead Maguire, winner of 1976 Nobel Peace Prize and a member of the TRANSCEND Network.

  • ‘The Israeli government is an apartheid government. It’s racist and it is carrying out genocidal politics,’ Maguire tells Anadolu
  • US, UK, Germany and other Western nations are ‘funding genocide,’ says Northern Irish peace activist
  • ‘If we keep the movement going, have everybody raising their voices with the Palestinians, then we can turn this around,’ says Maguire

BELFAST, Northern Ireland

Peace for Palestinians is possible, but only if the Israeli government gives up its “genocidal policies,” according to Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire.

“You cannot build peace on a genocide, and that tragically is what’s happening to the Palestinian people,” Maguire, co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu.

“The Israeli government is an apartheid government. It’s racist, and it is carrying out genocidal politics. It’s determined to take over the Palestinians’ land.”

Maguire became a leading peace activist in Northern Ireland after the death of her three young children of her sister during the Troubles, an era during which more than 3,500 people were killed in sectarian violence.

In 1976, she co-founded Peace People along with fellow Nobel laureate Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, a grassroots movement for peace in Northern Ireland, and has since been a strong voice for justice in other conflict areas around the world, including Palestine.

Israeli authorities deported her on three different occasions as she tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

“I’ve been many times to Palestine and I’ve been shocked by the tremendous suffering the Palestinian people are putting up with at the hands of the Israelis,” said Maguire, wearing a jacket with traditional Palestinian embroidery presented to her by late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

She said Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, where it has now killed more than 37,700 Palestinians and injured nearly 86,500 others, most of them women and children, is a “genocide of the Palestinian people.”

This “barbaric, inhumane, cruel war against men, women and children in Palestine” must come to an end, she said.

“Stop this madness … History will recall that thousands and thousands of Palestinian people died needlessly because a government was too arrogant to sit down and reach an agreement and solve the problem,” she said.

“Thousands of Palestinian children are dying and the world is watching. It’s got to stop now. It has gone on too long.”

West is ‘funding genocide’

Like many other leading minds of today, Maguire is also clear on US and Western complicity in Israel’s deadly actions.

“America has let the world down. It’s funding genocide. It is providing arms for a genocide … America is complicit in what is going on,” she said.

She emphasized that President Joe Biden “could stop this war in the morning” if he refuses to give Israel bombs and money, but the US will not do that “for its own political purposes.”

“They won’t do it because in America they depend on Israeli support … (even for) being elected in the Congress. They take money from arms people (manufacturers). They take money from Israeli elite and they let children die of starvation.”

Maguire also called out the UK for “sending money to Israel and trying to silence the voices … for human rights and international law for the people of Gaza.”

Those who are “speaking out on behalf of the little children of Gaza … are being (told) they are antisemite,” she said.

“We can’t have a world that’s made up of superpowers killing those who are innocent. We’re not being antisemitic. When you call for justice, for truth, you are being human because you are calling for humanity.”

On Germany, Maguire said the country and its people “know the cost of genocides” but are still “covering for those who are committing genocide, covering for an army which is criminal.”

“These are criminals. They are bombing from the sky with … bombs provided by America, Germany, England, Europe,” she said.

“They are criminals and they must be held accountable … We must hold accountable those who are carrying out these crimes. I applaud the International Court of Justice for naming those who are committing genocide, and I applaud the International Criminal Court.”

 ‘We can turn this around’

Reiterating Palestinians’ right to peace and security, Maguire called for collective global action to bring an end to Israel’s devastating offensive.

“You don’t need to have a law degree to say this is genocide,” she said.

“Let’s raise our voices and let’s not be silent. Let’s demand an immediate cease-fire by Israel. Let’s demand dialogue … Let’s demand that we feed the children, open the crossings … Every voice should be raised in every protest.”

The peace activist also called for support to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is challenging Israel through a combination of economic pressure, global isolation and various other tactics.

She stressed the need to ensure that Israel and its leaders are held accountable “for breaking the laws of humanity.”

“There are ways that we can join together in the United Nations. Every country should come out and say, ‘We want justice for the Palestinian people. We will not be silenced. We are not afraid and we’re not antisemitic. We are for the truth, for justice,’” Maguire asserted.

“I think if we keep the movement going, have everybody raising their voices with the Palestinians, then we can turn this around.


Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-founder of Peace People, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace, (edited by John Dear with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:

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