Interpol Approves Membership for Palestinian Authority

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Palestinians interpol
Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.

Despite objections from Israel and the United States, the Interpol Executive Committee decided Wednesday to approve the Palestinian Authority’s bid to join the international police commission, in a vote at the international police organization’s general assembly in Beijing, Interpol said.

“The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now INTERPOL member countries,” an Interpol tweet read.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which said earlier that Israel’s efforts to delay a vote until next year had failed, had no immediate comment on the decision.

“This victory was made possible because of the principled position of the majority of Interpol members,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said in a statement.

The Palestine Liberation Organization said that more than 75 percent of Interpol members voted to approve membership.

“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 said.

In 2012, the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinian Authority’s observer status at the United Nations to “non-member state” from “entity,” like the Vatican.

The step fell short of full U.N. membership, but it had important legal implications in allowing the Palestinians access to international bodies, should they choose to join.

Israel has argued that the PA had failed to enforce laws in its own territory, and would be unlikely to begin doing so with Interpol membership. The organization allows member countries to issue warrants for the arrest of suspects in cases where they flee to international destinations. Member countries are supposed to detain suspects and either try them locally or deport them. Israel said that it has asked the PA dozens of times to turn in terrorists, but has been refused each time.