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Jared Kushner nominated for Nobel peace prize for brokering Israeli-Arab deals

Trump's son-in-law and his deputy Berkowitz have been nominated by a friendly attorney who defended the former president in his impeachment trial
Jared Kushner played a key role in brokering Israel's normalisation deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Moroccco (AFP)

Former White House senior adviser and the son-in-law of former US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner, along with his deputy Avi Berkowitz, were nominated Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in negotiating normalisation deals between Israel and four Arab nations.

The controversial deals were announced between mid-August and mid-December and were hailed by their proponents as diplomatic “breakthroughs” in the Middle East.

Palestinians and opponents of the deal, however, have rejected them as an act of betrayal to their struggle against Israeli occupation, with protests erupting in occupied Palestinian territories and across the Arab world since last summer to express condemnation of the accords. 

US attorney Alan Dershowitz, a Trump ally, nominated the pair, according to Reuters. He was eligible to do so in his capacity as a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School, he said in a tweet last year. 

Dershowitz had defended Trump in his first impeachment trial last year, and said in an opinion article that the Senate should dismiss the article of impeachment against the former president over the deadly storming of the US Capitol on 6 January as he has become "a private citizen".

'Not for popularity'

In his letter to the Nobel committee, Dershowitz seemed to acknowledge that his nomination of Kushner could be unpopular.

"The Nobel Peace Prize is not for popularity. Nor is it an assessment of what the international community may think of those who helped bring about peace. It is an award for fulfilling the daunting criteria set out by Alfred Nobel in his will," he wrote, cited by Reuters.

Kushner 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 Nobel Peace Prize is not for popularity. Nor is it an assessment of what the international community may think of those who helped bring about peace,'

- Alan Dershowitz, US lawyer

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

Previous nominations for Trump and other leaders involved in the deals were unsuccessful, however. 

Last year, Trump, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed were named as nominees for the same prize, prompting denunciations of the decision due to the three leader’s perceived role in human rights abuses in the Middle East. 

Right-wing Norweigian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde was behind naming Trump last year for his role in the Israeli-Arab deals. Tybring-Gjedde has put forward Trump's name again for the 2021 prize. 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 was awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP).