Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nobel Peace Promise Prize

Gideon Levy writing for Haaretz wrote a great piece about Obama's failed attempt to forge peace in the Middle East, in light of his recent Noble Peace Prize.

See the full text here and see highlights below.

If the Norwegians wanted to reward a promise, Obama has earned his Nobel. If they wanted to reward a change in the language America speaks to the world, he is the honorary laureate. If they wanted to reward his intentions, that would be fine, too. He might even deserve a prize for promoting peace, but only pending the fine print on his diploma, which will run: Anywhere but the Middle East.
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What has the new Nobel laureate done so far in our region? Mitchell Shmitchell, a bitter and lost struggle over settlement expansion, a bizarre struggle against the Goldstone report, a disgraceful silence about the Gaza siege, and the ultimate proof that there's nothing new under the Middle Eastern sun. It's not Obama who "can," it's Israel. Israel can twist the arms of any president. You don't want to freeze the settlements? Okay, never mind. You don't want to take responsibility for the crimes in Gaza? Okay, never mind. You don't want to end the occupation? Okay, never mind. This is not the conduct of a Nobel laureate and president.

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Unlike in Afghanistan and Iraq, in this region he will not need to shed American blood to secure peace. It's enough to show political determination, apply pressure and use Israel's isolation and dependency for the cause of peace. Israel needs a friend to save it from itself.