Interpol approves Palestinian membership bid

by Antonio Miles September 28, 2017, 0:23
Interpol approves Palestinian membership bid

Interpol, the worldwide police organization, has voted to accept Palestine as a member country - which will heighten fears in Israel that Palestine could use Interpol to target Israeli officials.

The Palestinians' admission was aggressively opposed by the United States and Israel, which argues that the Palestinian Authority shouldn't be admitted because it's not a formal, recognized state.

"We welcome Interpol's decision to admit the State of Palestine as a full member in its organization, and extend our gratitude and appreciation to the seventy-five countries that upheld their principles and voted in favor of Palestine becoming a member of Interpol", Ashrawi said in a press statement.

The Palestinian prime minister applied for Interpol membership in 2015, and submitted a formal letter this July promising not to use the organization "for any political, military, racial or religious interventions or activities" and promising to cooperate with Interpol activities, according to minutes of the Interpol meeting. Israel also reportedly fears Palestinian efforts via Interpol to mount legal challenges, including travel bans and extradition requests, against Israeli army officers and others for alleged war crimes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office didn't immediately comment on the vote, which comes after Palestinians won recognition in other world bodies.

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"Palestine will commit to obligations and contribute to combating crime and law enforcement on the worldwide level", Malki noted.

The Solomon Islands was also voted in as a new member of Interpol. Whether it's UNESCO, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council or Interpol - when it comes to the Palestinians' aspiration for statehood, Israel stands no chance. "Perhaps they might have concerns that any information that they try to disseminate through Interpol's channels, Palestine would now have access to".

More than anything else, Palestine's admission to Interpol can be understood as the global community telling Netanyahu that the two-state solution remains the only viable blueprint for the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "To try to use worldwide organizations to advance the cause only sets back that opportunity".

The Palestinian Authority's admittance to Interpol received the necessary two-thirds majority approval during the body's 86th annual conference in Beijing Wednesday.

A page on the Interpol website listed Palestine as a member since 27 September 2017.


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