Israel seeking to block fresh Palestinian bid to join Interpol

PA request expected to come to vote after being stopped short in 2015 and 2016, amid Israeli concerns of sensitive info being leaked to terror groups

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Delegation of Interpol member countries attend the General Assembly in Bali, Indonesia on November 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Delegation of Interpol member countries attend the General Assembly in Bali, Indonesia on November 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Israel is seeking to thwart the Palestinian Authority’s latest bid to join the international law enforcement body Interpol over concerns it would leak sensitive information to Palestinian terror groups.

Interpol’s General Assembly will convene for its annual meeting in China on Tuesday, where the international policing organization will vote on new members.

In an effort to disqualify the Palestinians, Israeli diplomats have been lobbying behind the scenes for stricter criteria for new members, as first reported last week by i24News.

Diplomats have also sought to dissuade Interpol officials from voting in favor of Palestinian membership if the request comes to a vote this week, according to a source in Jerusalem.

The PA’s request will will go to a vote later this week if approved by Interpol’s Executive Committee. According to the Ynet news website, the Committee is likely to postpone Tuesday’s discussion on Palestinian membership, effectively vetoing the bid.

Illustrative: Palestinian police take part in a training session in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

However, if the Committee doesn’t table the discussion, the Palestinian membership request will be brought for a vote in the General Assembly. Israeli officials say the PA will likely be able to garner the necessary two-thirds majority if the vote goes to the assembly.

As a policy, Israel generally attempts to block the Palestinians from joining international organizations, which would give them de facto recognition as a state.

Last year, Israel successfully prevented the Palestinians from joining Interpol, with a 62 members of the Executive Committee voting to postpone the request.

The PA’s first request in 2015 was rejected by Interpol on grounds that it was submitted too late for discussion by that year’s assembly.

Interpol logo

But this year, Palestinians have launched their own diplomatic efforts to secure membership in the world body.

PA police chief head Hazem Atallah met Interpol’s Secretary General Jurgen Stock in Lyon, France, last month to campaign for Palestinian membership.

Along with the PA, Kosovo will also be seeking Interpol membership at this year’s General Assembly.

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 terrorism to human trafficking.

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