US President Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize over the deal his administration brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The nomination was submitted by Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who leads the country’s right-leaning Progress Party.
“For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Mr Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News, explaining his decision to put Mr Trump’s name forward.
He also mentioned the President’s attempts to reach a denuclearisation deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, and praised his decision to withdraw a large number of US troops from the Middle East.
“I’m not a big Trump supporter,” Mr Tybring-Gjedde stressed.
“The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts, not the way he behaves sometimes. The people who have received the Peace Prize in recent years have done much less than Donald Trump.
“For example, Barack Obama did nothing.”
Mr Obama won the Peace Prize in 2009, just months after taking office, for what the Nobel Committee described as his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.
That decision was widely mocked. Mr Obama himself admitted he was “surprised”, and he considered not receiving the prize in person.
“I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honoured by this prize,” he said.
Mr Tybring-Gjedde also nominated Mr Trump for the prize in 2018, citing his Singapore summit with Kim.
That year, it was won jointly by Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”.
The deal between Israel and the UAE was announced at the White House last month, reportedly after 18 months of negotiations.
Israel agreed to temporarily halt its plans to annex parts of the Palestinian West Bank. In return, the UAE agreed to normalise relations between the two countries, essentially recognising Israel as a legitimate state.
“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough, and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” Israel said in a statement at the time.
“By uniting two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region – something which was said could not be done – this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East,” Mr Trump said.
The President is planning to host a signing ceremony on September 15, which will be attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Foreign Policy magazine described the deal as a “historic achievement” and Mr Trump’s “first unambiguous diplomatic success”.
“It’s a genuine historic accomplishment that is unambiguously good for the United States,” it wrote last month.
“It will bolster Israel’s security and wellbeing, a longstanding vital interest of the United States.
“It will contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East, not only by indefinitely forestalling a potentially destabilising unilateral assertion of Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, but by giving the UAE and other modernising Gulf states full access to the region’s dominant military and intelligence power, and to its most technologically advanced economy.
“It will worry, isolate and enhance deterrence against Iran, the United States’ most dangerous regional adversary.
“And it reaffirms Washington’s still-unrivalled ability to serve as a force for good in alleviating some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. Neither China nor Russia, nor Europe nor the United Nations could have played the same role of peacemaker.”
Even Mr Trump’s election opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, welcomed the deal as a “historic step” that would help ease tensions in the region – though he stopped short of praising or even mentioning the President personally.
“The UAE’s offer to publicly recognise the state of Israel is a welcome, brave and badly needed act of statesmanship,” Mr Biden said when it was announced.
To be clear, Mr Trump has been nominated for the 2021 Peace Prize, as the deadline for this year’s nominations passed in February. And he is not yet on any shortlist.
Anyone can be nominated for the prize, as long as their name is submitted by a “qualified nominator”. You can read more about the criteria on the committee’s website. A few hundred people tend to be nominated each year.
Four US presidents have won the prize in the past – Teddy Roosevelt, for “having negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese war”; Woodrow Wilson, for being “the leading architect of the League of Nations”; Jimmy Carter, for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts”; and as we mentioned before, Mr Obama.
That has been a source of consternation for Mr Trump in the past.
“They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize,” he said in February of last year.
“With me, I probably will never get it.”