Edward Snowden was granted asylum in Russia, and now has been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize by Norwegian officials. The United Nations officially declared 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In the case of both Edward Snowden and Israeli-Palestinian relations, the United States stands opposite many other countries.
Norway’s Snorre Valen, member of the Council of Europe in Stratsbourg, and Baard Vegar Solhjell, former environment minister, said they decided to nominate Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize because he enhanced stability worldwide by increasing transparency. Nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize are usually not announced for 50 years, unless the nominators decide to make the announcement themselves.
Valen announced the nomination yesterday, saying in an interview with Businessweek that Snowden brought the issue of where to draw the line with surveillance to the forefront of policy discussions. Valen noted that although he believes in national security measures, overzealous monitoring can undermine citizen’s trust in their government.
Last year Swedish professor Stefan Svallfors of Umea University nominated Snowden for the Nobel Prize but missed the 2013 deadline. These international endorsements come as the United States continues to hold charges of theft and espionage against Snowden. A German television station also recently took an interest in Snowden, airing an interview in which Snowden laid out further allegations against U.S. government officials.
When the United Nations passed the resolution declaring that 2014 would be the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the United States was one of seven member countries that opposed the proposition. Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau were the other countries to cast a ‘no’ vote, while 110 countries voted in favor. As in the case with Snowden, the U.S. stood opposite many in the approach to Israel-Palestine diplomacy efforts.
The vote came after peace talks began between Israel and Palestine in July of 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been acting as the mediator for the negotiations, and told the World Economic Forum last Friday that the Obama administration is committed to finding reaching an agreement, because failure will be detrimental and success beneficial to the United States.
Why did the U.S. decide to vote against the UN resolution making 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People?
Kerry also said in his address to the World Economic Forum that the long-standing dispute between Israel and Palestine will only be resolved by the parties directly, not by the United Nations. Whether the United States simply believes in a different policy approach to the issue or does not in fact support solidarity with Palestine is unclear. Meanwhile, recent polls have found that 53.5 percent of Israelis do not trust Kerry as an impartial liaison for the peace talks, and 87 percent of Israelis believe the negotiations will fail, and some claim that the U.S. could lose legitimacy in the UN if a resolution is not reached at the end of the next four months.
Both in the case of Edward Snowden and the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the U.S. seems to stand opposite many countries in policy approaches. What this means for future diplomacy efforts will only be seen with time.
By Julia Waterhous