President Donald Trump has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to broker peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates - and immediately went on a Twitter spree of self-congratulation Wednesday.
He was nominated by Christian Tybring-Gjedde, an ultra-conservative member of the Norwegian Parliament, who praised Trump for brokering a deal in which the UAE and Israel agreed to establish diplomatic ties and trade links and allow free travel between their countries for the first time.
Tybring-Gjedde is an immigration skeptic who previously nominated Trump in 2018 for his meeting with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. Trump lost and the prize went to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who survive ISIS in Iraq and now campaigns against sexual violence in war.
Insisting he is not a Trump supporter, he said: 'For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,' Tybring-Gjedde said to Fox News.
'The people who have received the Peace Prize in recent years have done much less than Donald Trump. For example, Barack Obama did nothing.'
The decision on who wins is made by the five-member Nobel Prize Committee, which is chosen in line with the make-up of the Norwegian parliament; Tybring-Gjedde's party is not represented on it.
That did not stop Trump from boasting on Twitter about the nomination, retweeting supporters and aides, among them Trish Regan, who was fired from Fox News in March after calling coronavirus 'another attempt to impeach the president,' and Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter running for a safe Republican district who questioned whether the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon really happened.
Pictured: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Melech Friedman and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner applaud after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates from the Oval Office, August 13, 2020. Trump has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in brokering the deal
Donald Trump will host a signing ceremony for the Israel-UAE peace deal at the White House on September 15, officials said on Tuesday
Nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize are relatively easy to acquire; an actual prize is more elusive.
Anyone elected to a national parliament, congress or assembly anywhere in the world, any cabinet minister anywhere in the world, professors of history, theology and religion, former prize winners and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are just some of the people who can all nominate whoever they like.
But the five-strong Nobel committee hold the real power.
They do not confirm who has actually been nominated - the list is kept secret for 50 years - then whittle down the hundreds of nominations to a shortlist which they review more thoroughly, then decide a winner.
The five members all serve six-year terms and are supposed to reflect the balance of the membership of the Norwegian parliament. Tybring-Gjedde's party is too small to get a seat; two members are former politicians from the left-leaning Labour Party, and one from the center-right Center Party.
Their deliberations are secret and the winner - decided by a majority vote - is announced next October.
Tybring-Gjedde, who is a four-term Progress Party member of the Norwegian parliament, said the Trump administration deserved to be honored for its role in the establishment of relations between the UAE and Israel.
Tybring Gjedde's party is pro-Israel, while he is known for his strident views on immigration saying that it is the single most important political issue facing Norwegian society. He has compared the hijab to outfits worn by the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan and demanded a defense of Norwegian 'culture.'
His second attempt at nominating Trump seems as doomed as the first: in 2020, there were formal 318 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize according to the organization's official website, and nominations can be submitted by anyone who meets the Nobel Committee's criteria, which includes lawmakers anywhere in the world.
The peace deal was first announced by the President on August 13, with Trump saying that the United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the Israeli annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to Trump as he seeks reelection, and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
Officials said on Tuesday that a signing ceremony would be hosted at the White House on September 15, with senior delegations from the two countries in attendance, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In his nomination letter, Tybring-Gjedde wrote: 'As it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity.'
He also cited the president's 'key role in facilitating contact between conflicting parties and … creating new dynamics in other protracted conflicts, such as the Kashmir border dispute between India and Pakistan, and the conflict between North and South Korea, as well as dealing with the nuclear capabilities of North Korea.'
Tybring-Gjedde also praised Trump for withdrawing U.S. troops from the Middle East.
The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to Trump as he seeks reelection
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash (C), US President's senior adviser Jared Kushner (L) and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat (R) pictured during a meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 31 August 2020
Pictured: US President Barack Obama speaks on a screen at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert at Oslo Spektrum on December 11, 2009 in Oslo, Norway
A total of 21 Americans and one American organization have won the prize - among them three sitting presidents, a sitting vice president and a former president and vice president. They include:
1906: Theodore Roosevelt. First sitting president to win, for brokering end to Russo-Japanese war
1919: Woodrow Wilson. Second sitting president and third American, for leading the establishment of the League of Nations
1925: Charles Dawes. Calvin Coolidge's vice president, for his work on reparations after World War I
1931: Jane Addams. First American woman to win, for leading the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
1945: Cordell Hull. FDR's secretary of state from 1935 to 1944, for fighting isolationism and helping set up the United Nations
1950: Ralph Bunce. First black American to win, for work as a diplomat to mediate in Israel and Palestine
1953: George Marshall. Architect of the Marshall plan to rebuild Europe
1964: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Won for his commitment to non-violence
1973: Henry Kissinger. At the time Gerald Ford's secretary of state, and previously Nixon's. Won for the end of the Vietnam war
1986: Elie Wiesel. Writer and Holocaust survivor, he won for chairing the President's Commission on the Holocaust
2002: Jimmy Carter. First president honored for work after leaving office on peaceful conflict resolution, human rights and economic development
2007: Al Gore. Bill Clinton's vice president won for his climate change campaigning
2009: Barack Obama. Won in his first year as president 'for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples'
'Indeed, Trump has broken a 39-year-old streak of American Presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict. The last president to avoid doing so was Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter,' he wrote. The Norwegian MP said that the President had met the three conditions needed to win the peace prize.
'The first one is fellowship among nations and he has done that through negotiations,' he said.
'Reduction of standing armies - he has reduced the number of troops in the Middle East and the third criteria is promotion of peace congresses,' he said, adding that Trump had made 'tremendous efforts' towards brokering peace.
Four U.S. presidents have won the Nobel Peace Prize, which is determined by the five-person Nobel Committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament: Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, President Woodrow Wilson in 1920 and President Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Barack Obama in 2009.
The 2021 winner will not be announced until October next year.
In 2006, Tybring-Gjedde also nominated Islam-critical filmmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the Nobel Peace Prize. Hirsi Ali did not win the prize.
Along with another member of his party, Tybring-Gjedde nominated Trump for the prize in 2018 after the president's Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un. Japan's prime minister Shinzō Abe reportedly did the same, but Trump failed to win.
Speaking to Fox News, the Norwegian - who is a member of the country's conservative-leaning populist 'Progress Party' - said he was not nominating Trump to win favor with the president.
'I'm not a big Trump supporter,' he insisted. 'The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts – not on 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.'
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded president Obama for his 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people'.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited Obama's promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a 'new climate' in international relations, pointing to his efforts in reaching out to the Muslim world, but drew mixed reactions in the U.S.
He was awarded the prize just 263 days after taking office, with Lech Walesa, Poland's former president and a 1983 Nobel laureate saying: 'Too fast. For the time being Obama's just making proposals. But sometimes the Nobel Committee awards the prize to encourage responsible action.'
Even Obama sounded surprised in his comments following the away, saying: 'To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize, men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.'
The nomination comes after Trump's long-term resentment of Obama was detailed by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
He revealed how Trump hired a 'Fauxbama' impersonator of the president to record a video showing the then Apprentice star 'firing' him.
Cohen said Trump was motivated by racism and by envy of Obama's academic achievements and oratory.
The White House claims Cohen's word cannot be trusted because he was convicted of lying to Congress. Cohen has since said he was directed to lie by Trump.
Donald Trump will host a signing ceremony for the Israel-UAE peace deal at the White House on September 15, officials said on Tuesday.
Sources citing senior U.S. officials said delegations from both countries would likely be led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of UAE's crown prince.
U.S. officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ceremony would either be on the South Lawn, the Rose Garden or inside depending on weather.
Late Tuesday, Netanyahu tweeted he “was proud to leave for Washington next week at the invitation of President Trump and to participate in the historic ceremony at the White House” to sign the deal with the UAE.
Pictured: United States President Donald J. Trump, surrounded by leaders of the State of Israel and the UAE, announces a peace agreement to establish full diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, in the Oval Office on August 13
The deal was first announced by the President on August 13, with Trump saying that the United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the Israeli annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to Trump as he seeks reelection, and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.
Officials said the deal followed 18 months of talks between the nations, and the normalisation deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years and was catalysed largely by shared fears of Iran.
The announcement makes the UAE only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.
Following the deal, the first direct commercial flight flew from Tel Aviv to the UAE, telephone links were established, as were commitments to cooperate in numerous areas.
The UAE also announced the end of its boycott of Israel, which allows trade and commerce between the oil-rich Emirates and Israel, home to a thriving diamond trade, pharmaceutical companies and tech start-ups.
Flight 971 of Israel's national carrier El Al took off for Abu Dhabi after the UAE signed a pact to officially establish relations with the Jewish state
But Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE's move, worried that it would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that called for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory - and acceptance of Palestinian statehood - in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
Questions immediately arose about the solidity of the agreement after Israeli officials said the agreement to halt annexation was only 'temporary' and was done at the request of the Trump administration.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is 'committed to annexing parts of the West Bank' but agreed to 'temporarily suspend' those plans in order to sign the deal with the UAE.
The Trump administration admitted late Thursday the issue was not permanently off the table.
'It's off the table now, but it's not off the table permanently,' said David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
The UAE relied on white-collar Palestinians in creating its nation. Over time, it maintained its stance that Israel allow the creation of a Palestinian state on land it seized in the 1967 war.
But in recent years, ties between Gulf Arab nations and Israel have quietly grown, in part over their shared enmity of Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Prince Mohammed also shares Israel´s distrust of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the militant group Hamas that holds the Gaza Strip.
It remains unclear what prompted Israel and the UAE to make the announcement now. In June, the United Arab Emirates´ ambassador to the U.S. warned in an Israeli newspaper op-ed that Israel's planned annexing the Jordan Valley and other parts of the occupied West Bank would 'upend' Israel´s efforts to improve ties with Arab nations.