Netanyahu touts his nomination for Nobel Peace Prize by N. Ireland laureate

PM had already been nominated for award by Italian and Finnish MPs for Israel’s normalization deals with UAE, Bahrain

US President Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020 (SAUL LOEB / AFP)
US President Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020 (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement Tuesday saying he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize following the normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, after the premier had already been nominated for the award multiple times in recent months.

“Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lord David Trimble today nominated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan], Abu Dhabi’s crown prince,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Trimble was the first first minister of Northern Ireland — the head of its government — from 1998 to 2002, and in 1998 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with John Hume for their efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict there.

“In accordance with the Nobel Prize rules, since Trimble is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, his decision to nominate Prime Minister Netanyahu will lead the committee to discuss the matter,” the statement added.

Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate David Trimble attends the opening ceremony of the 15th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the University in Barcelona, Spain, November 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

However, the Nobel Committee was going to discuss the matter anyway, since reports two months ago said that an Italian lawmaker and a Finnish lawmaker had both — separately — nominated Netanyahu. Though those nominations were made before the 2020 winner was announced, they relate to the 2021 award, as does Trimble’s nomination.

The winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize — selected by a five-member committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament — will not be announced until October of next year.

Nominations must be sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee by February 1. Nominations can be made by a select group of people and organizations, including national lawmakers, heads of state, previous laureates, professors in some fields and certain international institutions. In 2020, the committee received 318 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, of which 211 were individuals and 107 were organizations. The winner was the UN World Food Programme.

Far-right Italian lawmaker Paolo Grimoldi, of the Northern League party, put forward Netanyahu’s name on September 16 after the premier took part in a signing ceremony with the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain at the White House

Grimoldi cited “dialogue” with Saudi Arabia, which does not have ties with the Jewish state, and the kingdom’s decision to allow Israeli overflights to the UAE.

“Historic! Thanks to Trump as well!” Grimoldi tweeted.

Grimoldi later said he hoped both Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump would win the prestigious award.

“Now they are both candidates. Now it’s possible!!!” Grimoldi said.

Additionally, a Finnish parliamentarian said he submitted Netanyahu’s, Trump’s and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s names to the Norwegian Nobel Committee as nominees for the peace prize after the September 11 announcement that Jerusalem and Manama would normalize relations.

“This is a historic achievement and the persistent diplomatic work and vision for peace by President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and King Al Khalifa requires international recognition,” MP Vilhelm Junnila, of the right-wing Finns Party, wrote in a letter to the committee that he shared on his Twitter account.

He urged the prize committee “to give a serious and impartial consideration” to their candidacies.

Those moves had come less than a week after a Norwegian lawmaker nominated Trump for the honor, citing his work in brokering the Israeli-UAE normalization deal.

Trump announced on that the UAE would normalize ties with Israel, and 29 days later that Bahrain would be the fourth Arab state to do so. On October 23, a similar deal was announced with Sudan.

Prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat won the peace price in 1979 for the Camp David Accords, while prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister Shimon Peres won the prize in 1994 for the Oslo Accords the year before, along with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

AFP contributed to this report.

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