Nobel member who opposed Arafats Peace Prize dies at 85

Kaare Kristiansen, 85, who in 1994 won the hearts of Israelis when he resigned from the Nobel Committee rather than be a party to awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to then Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, has died.

Kristiansen died a week prior to this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony in which an Israeli will again be among the Nobel Prize recipients, albeit in another category.

On Dec. 10, 1994, the night that Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres shared the dais with Arafat in Oslo, Kristiansen was honored at a huge function in Jerusalem for taking the moral high ground. He explained that though he rejoiced in the role Norway played in the process that evolved into the Oslo accords, he in good conscience could not bestow a Nobel Prize on someone with a record of terrorism such as Arafat.

Kristiansen’s courage and integrity won him admirers throughout the world. There was no way in which he would condone terrorism — even indirectly.

He continued to condemn Arafat until the Palestinian leader’s death. A 12-term member of Norwegian parliament , he was twice leader of the Christian People’s Party and served as Norway’s minister for oil and energy from 1983 to 1986.

Kristiansen lambasted Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over disengagement from the Gaza Strip, declaring that just as he had resigned from the Nobel Committee on moral grounds, he also protested as “immoral” and “illegal” the removal of Gush Katif Jews from their homes.