Jared Kushner nominated for Nobel peace prize

Kushner and his deputy Avi Berkowitz join Greta Thunberg and Alexei Navalny on the nominations list – Mon 1 Feb 2021 04.00 GMT THE GUARDIAN

Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his deputy, Avi Berkowitz, have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize for their role in negotiating four normalisation deals between Israel and Arab nations known as the “Abraham Accords”.

Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, and Berkowitz, who was the Middle East envoy, were key figures in negotiating deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

The two former deputies to then-President Donald Trump were nominated by American attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was eligible to do so in his capacity as a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School. Dershowitz defended Trump in his first impeachment trial last year and told the Wall Street Journal on 20 January that the Senate should dismiss the article of impeachment against the former president, as he was no longer in office.

The bar for nominations is low, as they are are accepted from thousands of people, from members of parliament to former winners and heads of state. There were more than 300 nominations for last year’s award, which was ultimately won by the World Food Programme.

Nominations, which closed on Sunday, do not imply an endorsement from the Nobel committee.

Among others nominated for the prize this year are Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the World Health Organization and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg. All were backed by Norwegian lawmakers who have a track record of picking the winner.

The “Abraham Accords” were announced between mid-August and mid-December .

The deals established formal relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but they fell short of full peace deals as the three countries already maintain significant informal ties and have not been at war.

The agreements also made little mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which had been the obstacle to diplomatic progress. The committed the parties only to “continuing the efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, and enduring resolution”.

Kushner said in a statement he was honoured to be nominated for the prize, which will be awarded in October.

President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to review all national security deals reached during the Trump administration, including arms packages for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

There have been some complaints from lawmakers about the Morocco deal because to get Morocco to agree to it, the United States recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Trump left office on 20 January under a cloud of controversy, potentially impacting whether the pair of aides would be awarded the prize.