Jerusalem is trying to thwart an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join the international police force, Interpol, fearing that it would leak sensitive information to Palestinian terror groups, Israeli officials said.
The Palestinians want their request to join Interpol to come to a vote during the organization’s annual general assembly next week.
In a bid to foil the move, Israeli diplomats have been lobbying member countries, while Israel Police representatives have been speaking with their Interpol peers.
Israel fears that sensitive information could be leaked to terrorists if the Palestinians join the organization, an official in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel, without giving further details.
As a policy, Israel generally attempts to block the Palestinians from joining international organizations, which would give them de facto recognition as a state.
The Walla news site quoted Israeli officials as saying that accepting the Palestinians without them meeting the current membership criteria as a state would lead to “politicization of all the organization’s decisions and votes” and would influence Interpol’s functioning.
Israel is hoping that the combination of the Palestinian Authority with Kosovo, which, along with the Solomon Islands, is also requesting Interpol membership, will bring Russia and other countries to side with Israel. Russia does not recognize Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.
According to the Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa, the PA’s interior and foreign ministries were handling “extensive contacts” with “concerned countries” that support its request.
Faid Mustafa, the Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey, said on Monday that the PA had Turkey’s support “on the basis that Palestine has the right to join all international organizations.”
Representatives of 190 member countries will attend Interpol’s general assembly in Bali, Indonesia from November 7-10.
After nine months of US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fell apart in April 2014, the PA embraced a policy of seeking membership in international organizations and bodies including, among others, the International Criminal Court, of which it became a member in April.
As part of a series of measures designed to boost Ramallah’s international statehood effort, the Palestinian Authority made its formal request to join Interpol in August 2015.
That request was rejected on the grounds that it was submitted too late for discussion by that year’s assembly.
In June, the organization’s board of management decided not to accept a repeat Palestinian request for membership, but instead to establish an independent panel of experts to draw up criteria for the acceptance of new members.
Earlier this month, however, the issue of Palestinian membership was pushed by Turkey, and the board resolved to bring it to a vote.
In order to become a member, an applicant must secure two-thirds of the votes of member states.
Interpol, the world’s biggest international organization after the United Nations, enables member states to exchange intelligence and to work together to find ways to cope with international crime, from terror to human trafficking.