State of Palestine joins Interpol

Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, France. (photo: Laurent Cipriani / AP)

Despite strong opposition from Israel, the international police organization approves Palestine’s membership by a vote of 75–24.

By Peter Meaumont / The Guardian / Sep 27, 2017

Israel campaigned to block the Interpol move and made a series of procedural moves in an attempt to prevent the issue coming to a vote. . . . After Israel blocked the last Palestinian attempt to join Interpol — at last year’s annual general meeting in Indonesia — the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said his country’s diplomatic efforts had secured a major victory. The Israeli foreign ministry made no immediate comment on Wednesday’s decision.

Interpol has voted to admit Palestine as a full member, dealing a significant diplomatic blow to Israel, which has strenuously lobbied against Palestinian admission.

In a secret vote of representatives of the international police organization’s members in China, Palestinian membership was approved by 75 to 24 votes, with 34 abstentions — exceeding the two-thirds requirement of yes to no votes.

“The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now Interpol member countries,” the organization tweeted after the ballot.

Set up almost a century ago, Interpol was designed to help countries share police intelligence and cooperate against crime that crosses international borders, including terrorism and human trafficking,. It now has 192 international members.

It is perhaps best known to the wider public for its “red notice” system, which issues requests to locate and provisionally arrest individuals pending extradition.

The Palestinian bid was part of a series of efforts to push for membership of international institutions and thereby advance the goal of statehood.

Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organizations and agreements, including the international criminal court and the United Nations heritage body, Unesco.

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