BEIJING: Interpol on Wednesday approved the Palestinian Authority’s candidacy to join the global police organisation, a new victory in its push for membership in international institutions in the face of consistent Israeli opposition.
Israel lobbies hard against Palestinian candidacies to international organisations 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 approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing.
“New member countries State of Palestine and Solomon Islands bring INTERPOL’s membership to 192,” Interpol said on its Twitter account.
It 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 organisations and agreements, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry.
Among them are the International Criminal Court and the United Nations heritage body UNESCO.
Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, eases the exchange of information between police forces. It also issues “red notices” — non-binding notifications of arrest warrants.
– ‘Israel don’t want us in FIFA’ –
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 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,” 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 organisations,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
He alleged that “the attempt by the Palestinians to politicise what is a super-professional organisation 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.