Israelis, Palestinians Skeptical of Obama Nobel

Israel fears prize will spur president to 'force-feed' them peace deal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2009 6:11 AM CDT
Two young Palestinian women walk past Israeli border police during clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers at the Kalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem last week.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – President Obama won praise from Israeli and Palestinian leaders after yesterday's surprise Nobel Peace Prize win, but many others on both sides of the conflict expressed puzzlement and wariness. The decision is "very strange," said the speaker of Israel's parliament, adding that he hoped Obama wouldn't now feel he could "force-feed Israel with his version of peace." Obama's special envoy is currently in Israel trying to break a stalemate over freezing new West Bank settlements.

"This man has not accomplished anything to deserve this prize," wrote the editor of the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, adding sarcastically that the prize "may be an incentive for him to start working for peace." Israelis interviewed by the Los Angeles Times said they feared Obama might now actually be less motivated to work for peace, recalling the bloodshed that followed Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres jointly winning the prize in 1994.