By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his deputy, Avi Berkowitz, were nominated on Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in negotiating four normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations known as the “Abraham Accords.”
The deals were announced in a four-month span between mid-August and mid-December and were the most significant diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East in 25 years as the region girds for a prolonged confrontation with Iran.
Nominating the pair of former deputies to then-President Donald Trump was American attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was eligible to do so in his capacity as a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School.
Kushner and Berkowitz were key figures in negotiating deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
In a statement, Kushner said he was honored to be nominated for the prize, which will be awarded in October.
Some lawmakers have complained about the Morocco deal because, to win the nation’s agreement, the United States recognized its sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday received Morocco’s highest award for his work in advancing a normalization deal between Israel and Morocco, a senior administration official told Reuters.
In a private Oval Office ceremony, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, who is Morocco’s ambassador to the United States, gave Trump the Order of Muhammad, an award given only to heads of state. It was a gift from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz received other awards for their work on the Israel-Morocco deal, which was reached in December.
The United States in the last five months helped broker deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. The agreements are aimed at normalizing relations and opening economic ties.
Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday, has drawn some criticism over the Morocco agreement because to seal the deal, he agreed that the United States would recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Western Sahara has been the site of a decades-old territorial dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.
The Kushner team had been working on reaching more agreements between Israel and the Arab world. But time has run out and no more are expected before Trump’s departure.
Media were not allowed to witness the award ceremony.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)