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Israel-UAE deal: Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Zayed's Nobel Peace Prize proposal denounced

Social media users have called the nominations a mockery, citing human rights abuses by the leaders
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize (AFP)

The latest people named for the Nobel Peace Prize have been anything but peaceful.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been put forward for the award by Nobel laureate Lord David Trimble for normalising relations between Israel and the UAE.

Trimble, former first minister of Northern Ireland, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Israel and the UAE have never been at war.

However, like the vast majority of Arab and Muslim countries, the UAE has never recognised Israel or had official diplomatic contacts.

In September, the two countries' governments signed a US-brokered agreement normalising relations, ushering a raft of trade, tourism and security deals, as well as similar pacts with Bahrain and Sudan.

The submission was announced on Tuesday by Netanyahu's office.

But instead of being hailed, the announcement was met in many quarters with disdain, denunciation and amusement.

The winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, which is selected by a panel of five people appointed by the Norwegian parliament, will be announced in October next year.

This year’s prize was awarded to the UN World Food Programme. 

A controversial nominee for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was Donald Trump, who was nominated by right-wing Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde for his role in brokering the Israel-UAE agreement.

“For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News at the time. 

Some social media users called the Nobel Peace Prize proposals a mockery, citing human rights abuses and allegations of war crimes by both leaders.

The UAE was part of the Saudi-led coalition that has intervened in the Yemen war since 2015 in support of the government, and has been accused of numerous violations. The war has killed more than 100,000 people.

Netanyahu was prime minister during the 2014 assault on Gaza when more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians. Peaceful protests near the besieged enclave's border fence with Israel were fired on by Israeli troops in 2018 and 2019, leaving more than 250 dead and thousands wounded.

Unlike previous agreements with Jordan and Egypt, the UAE deal appeared to leverage little out of Israel, particularly for the Palestinians. 

The Emiratis claimed Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank had been shelved. However, Israel's leaders have expressed resolve to make the move eventually.

A lack of international and US support had already scuppered Israel's annexation plans months before the normalisation announcement was made.

Palestinian leaders unanimously rejected the UAE's normalisation deal, calling it a "stab in the back" and a "free gift to Israel".

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.