A Norwegian politician said Thursday that he has nominated UNRWA, the UN Palestinian “refugee agency” for the Nobel Peace Prize, even as it has been embroiled in a controversy over the alleged involvement of its employees in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, AFP reported.
Asmund Aukrust, a parliamentarian from the Labour party, told the Dagbladet newspaper he had nominated the UNRWA "for its long-term work to provide vital support to Palestine and the region in general".
"This work has been crucial for over 70 years, and even more vital in the last three months", said the politician who is vice-chairman of Norway's parliament's foreign affairs committee.
Being nominated for the Peace Prize does not represent recognition by the Nobel Committee, which receives hundreds of nominations every year.
Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, including lawmakers and cabinet members of all countries, former laureates and some university professors, before the January 31 deadline.
Aukrust’s comments come a week after the US announced it has temporarily paused funding to UNRWA following allegations that 12 of its employees may have been involved in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. It was followed by more than a dozen other countries, including Germany, Britain and New Zealand.
The New York Times on Sunday published details on the accusations that Israel has levelled at workers of UNRWA.
According to the report, one of the UNRWA workers is accused of kidnapping a woman, another is said to have handed out ammunition and a third was described as taking part in the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri, where 97 people were murdered.
The accusations are contained in a dossier provided to the United States government that details Israel’s claims against a dozen employees of UNRWA.
On Wednesday, an array of UN organizations warned of "catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza " if key donor countries do not resume funding for UNRWA.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday that UNRWA plays "a critical role in providing life-saving assistance to Palestinians," but also stressed that "we need to see fundamental changes before we can resume providing funding directly" to the organization.