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Interpol approves Palestinian membership bid

26th Oct 2017
Interpol approves Palestinian membership bid

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki has welcomed Interpol’s decision to approve the Palestinian membership (Photo: Ricardo Patiño/CC)

Harun Nasrullah

Interpol has approved the Palestinian membership, despite strong Israeli opposition. Israel lobbied hard against Palestinian efforts to join the world’s largest police organisation.

Interpol approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing on September 22. Israel claimed victory last year when the Palestinian bid to join was suspended.

Interpol announced the vote victory on Twitter, “New member countries State of Palestine and Solomon Islands bring Interpol’s membership to 192”.

Candidacies require the approval of a two-thirds majority of countries present at the General Assembly, excluding abstentions.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s negotiations affairs department received more than 75 percent of the vote.

Among arguments deployed against Palestinian membership by Israel’s rightwing government were that Palestine might try and use its new status in pursuit of arrest warrants for top Israeli officials – despite the fact that Interpol cannot issue arrest warrants – or misuse confidential information on terrorism issues.

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Malki, said, “Palestine’s membership is the outcome of members defending this organisation’s raison d’etre and advancing its core values and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying.”

Palestine gained observer status at the UN in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organisations and agreements including the International Criminal Court and the UN heritage body, UNESCO.

Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub said that “we’re looking to be in all of the international institutions, including Interpol, as an organised 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.”

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?”

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