The Interpol vote on Wednesday to accept the Palestinians as members of the international police organization was reported as a victory for them and a defeat for Israel, which had lobbied hard against it.
Israel strongly opposed Palestinian membership in Interpol for obvious reasons, not the least of which is that it would likely result in sensitive information being leaked to Palestinian terrorists.
The diplomatic activity leading up to the vote in Beijing on Wednesday received little media coverage and the ballot itself (75 to 24 with 34 abstentions) was secret, so one can only wonder how those supporting Palestinian accession answered the Israeli argument against it.
Of course, some of the pro-Palestinian contingent at Interpol may have no problem with the Palestinian Authority, or its main faction Fatah, formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (PLO), taking a seat at Interpol meetings, and no qualms about giving them access to information that could have deadly consequences for Israelis and others.
They might also counter that with 192 member states — including such upholders of global law enforcement as Iran, Russia, China and — yes, Syria! — the inclusion of the Palestinians would not significantly hinder Interpol’s operations any more than is already the case. Indeed, their various friends at Interpol may already be furnishing them with whatever information they want.
Yet depending on the good will of cohorts and allies can’t be compared to actually having a seat at the table. Furthermore, the diplomatic victory scored by the Palestinians is troubling enough by itself.
The infamous Interpol tweet on Wednesday announcing the decision read: “The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now INTERPOL member countries.”
No details were offered. (Like why it took so long for the Solomon Islands to gain membership.) But the statement said it all, and in less than 280 characters:
Not “the Palestinian Authority,” but the “The State of Palestine.”
At Interpol, it appears, the Palestinians already have their state, and the endless international dithering over the two-state solution can now enjoy surcease.
At least some of the major news organizations were more reticent about putative Palestinian statehood. The Associated Press, for example, enclosed the appellation the “State of Palestine” in quotation marks. So did The Los Angeles Times.
Interestingly, Al-Jazeera didn’t mention “State of Palestine,” writing that “Interpol has approved the Palestinian Authority’s membership bid,” and referred to “the Palestinians” throughout their coverage.
Reuters, the Guardian and surprisingly, the Voice of America, all went along blithely with statehood as a fait accompli.
What happened to all those reporters and editors who fastidiously refer in their news stories to Palestinian “militants,” refusing to write “terrorists,” lest they seem to be taking sides in the Mideast conflict? In coverage of the Har Adar attack on Tuesday, for example, Reuters called it the work of a “Palestinian man” and a “gunman.”
Now Interpol has formally signed onto the disturbing pretense that there is such a thing as a “State of Palestine.” They have accepted as a full member an organization which only the day before praised the terrorist murderer of three Israelis at Har Adar as a “martyr.”
An official Fatah posting attached a caption to the terrorist’s picture that read: “In the name of the Fatah movement, we share the sorrow of the family of the shaheed (martyr) Nimer Mahmoud Ahmed Aljamal who was killed in the operation today.”
Interpol is not alone in this infamy, of course. It is only the latest to join more than 50 international entities and conventions, including the international criminal court and UNESCO, which have approved Palestinian membership since 2012. (It was in that year the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinian Authority’s observer status to “non-member state” from “entity.” While it was less than full U.N. membership, it opened the way for the Palestinians to apply to international bodies.)
True, this was a setback for Israeli diplomacy and a gain for the Palestinians. But most of all, it was Interpol and the international community that covered themselves with shame.
In their shoes, who wouldn’t want their ballot to be cast in secret?