Obama's Nobel: new peace hopes for Middle East?

By Jessica Elgot, October 9, 2009
Barack Obama: the US president has been awarded the Nobel peace prize

Barack Obama: the US president has been awarded the Nobel peace prize

Israeli politicians have responded the US president Barack Obama’s Nobel peace prize win, asking him to stand firm on his commitments to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.

The announcement of the prize was made while Israeli president Binyamin Netanyahu was in Washington for more talks with Mr Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said: “I hope the award will boost President Obama's ability to contribute to the establishment of regional peace in the Middle East and to a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will bring about security and prosperity to all the region's nations."

Israel’s president Shimon Peres said: “There are few leaders who have managed to change the atmosphere in the world in such a short time.

"Under Obama’s leadership he has begun making peace a reality and making it a key issue on the agenda, which must be realised. From Jerusalem, I express my confidence that the bells of understanding and dialogue between the nations will start ringing again."

The news was less well received by the Palestinians, who expressed concern about the hastiness of the award.

Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said: "Obama has a long way to go still and lots of work to do before he can deserve a reward. He only made promises and did not contribute any substance to world peace. And he has not done anything to ensure justice for the sake of Arab and Muslim causes."

Last updated: 5:30pm, November 10 2009