Interpol okays Palestinian membership bid

After delays to the vote, Palestine was voted in by more than 75 percent of member states at the organization's general assembly in China, according to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s diplomatic wing. He said the "diplomatic warfare" carried out by the Palestinians will not go unanswered.

Israel's prime minister is criticizing the Palestinian acceptance to Interpol, saying it harms chances for peace.

'The overwhelming vote in favour of Palestine's membership is a reflection of the confidence in Palestine's ability to enforce law and abide by the core values of the organisation, ' PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the official PA news site Wafa.

"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.

Some 75 countries voted in favor, with 24 voting against and 34 abstaining.

Over Israeli objections, the U.N. General Assembly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state in 2012.

The Palestinians needed the support of at least two-thirds of the member countries to be accepted.

The 75 delegates at Interpol's annual General Assembly in Beijing who voted in favor of Palestine's membership were probably motivated less by a deep appreciation of the Palestinian police, but rather by their desire to make a statement: the Palestinians deserve a state of their own, they likely reasoned, and therefore we can not in good conscience vote against them.

Also on Wednesday, worldwide law expert and former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker wrote that Interpol's action was "indicative of the total insensitivity of the global community, which out of political correctness and an incomprehensible eagerness to coddle the Palestinian leadership, fails to realize that in so doing they are giving the Palestinians a green light and license to incite and to reward terror".

Some Israeli media commentators have voiced concern that as an Interpol member, Palestine could ask the organization to issue a "Red Notice", an alert to police worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest an individual, pending extradition. If the goal is a two-state solution, as it should be, then the building of Palestinian state institutions, whether in the West Bank or in the global arena, should be harnessed as a potential step toward peace.

The Jerusalem Post reported earlier this week that Israel was anxious Palestine's membership could mean issuing warrants against Israeli citizens.

"We have many friends", he said Monday at a Jewish New Year's toast for employees in his Jerusalem office.

Palestinian membership of Interpol, which is based in the French city of Lyon, will ease the exchange of information between police forces across the globe.

  • Rogelio Becker