Interpol approves Palestinian membership, angering Israel

The entrance of the Interpol headquarters in Lyon eastern France
The entrance of the Interpol headquarters in Lyon eastern France

28 September, 2017

The United Nations has rejected warnings from the US and Israel and voted to include the Palestinians in "Interpol".the worldwide police agency.

The Palestine Liberation Organization said that more than 75 percent of Interpol members voted to approve membership. Speaking about his country's successful application, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said in a statement: "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".

Israel's Foreign Ministry strongly opposes the Palestinians' entry into Interpol, arguing that it encourages Palestinian unilateralism and citing concerns that the Palestinians could compromise sensitive information shared among the group's members.

"On this joyous occasion, the State of Palestine reiterates its commitment to upholding its obligations and contributing to fighting crime and furthering the rule of law", Maliki added.

"Accepting the Palestinians as the newest member of Interpol under such circumstances is a travesty for justice", he went on to say.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak called it "another failure" for Netanyahu. 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. They are faced with an Israeli government that celebrates the settlements and the occupation - as it did today in Gush Etzion.

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Zeev Elkin, Israel's Minister of Environmental Protection and a close associate of Netanyahu, said in retaliation for the Palestinians joining Interpol, Israel should cancel gestures granted to the Palestinians, including work and entry permits, and special travel permits for Palestinian leaders.

Palestine is already a member of dozens of worldwide organisations including Unesco, the United Nations cultural agency, and the global Criminal Court.

A majority of more than two-thirds of the yes-or-no votes was needed to pass, and upon the count the one-country one-vote basis passed that threshold easily.

The General Assembly discussed the guidelines for membership prior to the vote.

Interpol, based in Lyon, France, is an global clearinghouse for arrest warrants and police cooperation against cross-border crime.

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