Palestine becomes Interpol member state

Thursday, 28 Sep, 2017

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has decried the Palestinian Authority's acceptance into the ranks of the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) as a new member, which EJC said Wednesday is likely to only exacerbate difficulties in international cooperation in the critical fight against terror. Under interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals, a Palestinian Authority was granted limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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

The Palestine Liberation Organisation said on Twitter that more than 75 per cent of Interpol members voted to approve membership.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki hailed Wednesday's vote as a "victory for law enforcement" and a "voice of confidence in the capacity of law enforcement in Palestine".

"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", Mr Maliki said in a statement.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision "seriously harms the chances to achieve peace".

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"There is also legitimate concern expressed by Israel that the Palestinians could use their membership in Interpol to mount unwarranted legal challenges, including travel bans and extradition requests, against Israeli military and security officials", Nazarian concluded.

He said one target would be Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of President Mahmoud Abbas.

And yet, ignoring Israel's widely recognized expertise in combatting terrorism, 75.7% of voting countries supported the resolution, which grants the Palestinians access to Interpol's secure global police communications network, and other perks of full-fledged members.

"The Palestinian Authority must meet standardized criteria before even approaching Interpol membership, and at the moment it falls well short in this regard".

The approval vote requires the Palestinians to pay membership dues worth 0.03 percent of the Interpol budget.

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