Interpol approves ‘State of Palestine’ as member state

 

BEIJING/PARIS: International police agency Interpol has voted to include the “State of Palestine” as a member, in a new boost to Palestinian efforts for international recognition.
Interpol announced the inclusion of the “State of Palestine” as well as the Solomon Islands on Twitter and its website Wednesday after a vote by its general assembly in Beijing.
With the new votes, Interpol will have 192 member countries. Interpol didn’t immediately announce how many members supported Palestinian membership. UNESCO also approved Palestinian membership, prompting the US and Israel to suspend funding out of protest.
Israel lobbies hard against Palestinian candidacies to international organizations and claimed victory last year when the Palestinian bid to join Interpol was suspended.
The membership bid is part of Palestinian efforts to advance their goal of statehood.
Interpol did not give the result but candidacies require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the countries present at the general assembly, excluding abstentions.
Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organizations and agreements, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry.
Among them are the International Criminal Court and the United Nations heritage body UNESCO.
Interpol, based in Lyon, France, is an international clearinghouse for arrest warrants and police cooperation against cross-border crime.
Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub had told AFP on Sunday that “we’re looking to be in all of the international institutions, including Interpol, as an organized state.”
“We are looking for the Palestinian state to be a positive contributor toward security and stability in the region and in the international community,” he said.
Regarding Israel’s opposition, he said “they don’t want any progress toward a Palestinian state.”
“Israel does not want us to be in FIFA. How would they want us to be in Interpol?” he said.
Israel’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the bid.
However, Alan Baker, a former senior Israeli diplomat and legal expert, said “it’s just a political PR move” on the part of the Palestinians.
“Because they’re not interested in negotiating (with Israel) they’re trying to achieve the end result, which is a state, through international organizations,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
He alleged that “the attempt by the Palestinians to politicize what is a super-professional organization is very harmful to Interpol.”
Baker however rejected the notion that Palestinians would be able to initiate arrest warrants at will against Israelis by joining Interpol.
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Categories: Arab World, Palestine

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