A socialist lawmaker in the Norwegian Parliament announced on Thursday that he has nominated the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for consideration of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Åsmund Aukrust, a member of Norway’s Arbeiderpartiet, told Dagbladet that his motivation for making such a selection is because of UNRWA’s “long-term work to provide vital support to Palestine and the region in general.”
The news comes as significant controversy has befallen UNRWA in the aftermath of the October massacre in southern Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization. A recent report by Israeli intelligence officials has determined that as much as 10 percent of the agency’s 12,000 employees in Gaza are members of the terror group, and at least 12 associates directly participated in the horrifying rampage against civilians that followed.
In the event of UNRWA receiving the accolade, the 74-year-old agency would become the sixth U.N. organization to be endowed with the award. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan became a laurate individually in 2001.
In addition to UNRWA-affiliated persons engaging in murder, rape, defilement, looting and abduction against Jewish residents in Israel, the institution has been under protracted criticism in recent years, alleging that it is responsible for providing material support for terrorists, glorifying the murder of Israelis in the schools that they control, misuse of funds, and promoting jihadist propaganda.
These concerns led the Trump administration in 2018 to suspend all U.S. monetary assistance for its operations.
In 2021, the Biden administration resumed taxpayer financing of UNRWA but last week joined several other countries in suspending the cooperation following the recent allegations by Jerusalem.
The nomination by Aukrust is not the first time that the Nobel Committee has faced dissension with its candidate selection. Some former recipients of the prestigious prize generated considerable contention when they were selected.
Former PLO chief Yasser Arafat and ANC leader Nelson Mandela have been condemned by various observers for their human rights transgressions. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter also drew censure from several Jewish leaders when he was bestowed the honor in 2002.