Palestinian Authority to protest Interpol membership delay
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Palestinian Authority to protest Interpol membership delay

Israel has lobbied against inclusion of PA in international police agency, arguing that sensitive information could be leaked to terrorists

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

The Palestinian government will protest against a delay in its application to join the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) at the body’s annual conference next week, an official said Friday.

“Palestine applied for membership of Interpol more than a year ago, but the executive committee of Interpol rejected the Palestinian request for a vote and referred it to a committee of experts for examination,” Palestinian Authority foreign ministry official Ammar Hijazi told AFP.

He added that “executive measures” had prevented the issue being on the agenda for Interpol’s next annual meeting, to be held on the Indonesian island of Bali from November 7-10.

Hijazi said Palestinian officials would nevertheless attend the meeting to register their protest.

“There is no plan to vote on the Palestinian request at the next meeting, but the diplomatic battle ahead is to expose what the Executive Committee did to postpone a decision,” he said, adding that the Palestinian Authority was seeking to enlist support for its bid.

Interpol logo
Interpol logo

Interpol confirmed it had received “several” requests from member countries to discuss Palestine’s membership at the annual conference.

“However, under Interpol’s rules it is the Executive Committee which sets the agenda,” a statement said.

The committee will meet on Saturday to finalize the agenda, it added.

The Lyon-based Interpol currently has 190 member countries, enabling police across the globe to share information.

The State of Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined 54 international organizations and agreements, according to Hijazi. Among them are the International Criminal Court and the United Nations heritage body UNESCO.

Israel has opposed such moves, delaying payments of taxes to the Palestinians after their 2015 ICC application.

On Monday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan criticized the attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join the international police organization, saying the move would politicize the body and damage its integrity.

Speaking with Russian police officers during an official visit to Moscow on Monday, Erdan, whose ministry is responsible for the police, said that the move was part of Palestinian efforts to impose unilateral decisions on Israel via international bodies.

“Interpol is an important professional organization tasked with helping its members fight crime and ensure public safety,” Erdan said. “It cannot be turned into a political body driven by extraneous considerations, as the Palestinians are trying to do.”

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 on Monday, 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.

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