Murphy and Sullivan began by acknowledging how “the surprise decision to award President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had much of the world scratching its head on Friday, even among the president’s most ardent fans.” After expounding on the President’s “loft promises...to diplomacy... and that a less belligerent America is in the offing,” the two reporters continued that “the peace prize has often been awarded more in hope than hindsight — and with an eye to nudging world events.”
The first examples of a “peace prize...awarded more in hope” cited by Murphy and Sullivan were the 1996 winners: “The 1996 award of the peace prize to Cardinal Carlos Belo and politician Jose Ramos Horta — both prominent campaigners for East Timorese independence from Indonesia — put a spotlight on their cause and helped create the conditions that led to Indonesia’s pullout from the country in 1999.”
The Monitor reporters juxtaposed this with the winners from two years before:
“The controversial awarding of the 1994 prize to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat was less successful. Though the three men eventually signed the Oslo Accords that seemed to have the two nations on a path toward peace, that effort eventually broke down. All three men could be said to have blood on their hands from that conflict, and Mr. Arafat died without achieving his dream of an independent Palestinian state. Mr. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by an Israeli furious that he was negotiating land concessions.”
What’s peculiar about this analysis on the part of Murphy and Sullivan is their seeming to blame Rabin for the dissolution of the peace process, even after acknowledging that he had been assassinated a year after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It is widely acknowledged that the peace process broke down after the Camp David Summit hosted by then-President Clinton in 2000, five years after Rabin’s death. Peres, at that point, was not an active participant in the Israeli government. The only recipient of the 1994 Prize that was present at that summit was Arafat, who is widely blamed for the failure for the talks in 2000. So how can “all three men could be said to have blood on their hands”?