Palestine’s membership shouldn’t pose a new concern for Israel.
“Almost every country in the world is a member of Interpol, with the notable exception of North Korea. Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Syria, Yemen, Iran — these are all member countries I’m assuming that, for Israel, would be not particularly friendly countries.”
— Bruno Min, a legal and policy officer at Fair Trials
Interpol, the international police organization, has voted to accept Palestine as a member country — which will heighten fears in Israel that Palestine could use Interpol to target Israeli officials.
Interpol membership will bring several benefits to Palestinian police. They’ll get access to information that other police agencies around the world have shared about criminal activity and will be able to issue red notices, which function as international nonbinding warrants requesting the extradition of criminal fugitives.
And that’s what makes Israel nervous.
Israel is strongly opposed to Palestine’s membership in Interpol (Israel opposes Palestine’s entry into any international organization, insisting that it is not an independent state) and blocked its attempt last year to achieve Interpol membership, warning that Palestine might issue red notices against Israeli government officials. In the end, 75 countries supported Palestine’s bid for membership, 34 abstained, and 24 opposed it.
Interpol’s constitution forbids the use of red notices for political purposes. But some countries have been known to abuse Interpol, particularly its red notice system, for political purposes. Russia, China, Venezuela, and Turkey have issued red notices for dissidents and activists, in addition to the actual criminals for which the system is intended. (Interpol functions primarily as a liaison between police agencies around the world and does not itself have agents with policing powers.)