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Interpol approves Palestine membership despite Israel opposition

The file photo shows the entrance of the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France. (Photo by AFP)

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has voted for the full membership of Palestine in the world’s biggest police organization, in a new diplomatic blow to Israel and the US, which were firmly opposed to the move.

Palestine’s membership bid was approved at the Interpol’s annual General Assembly in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Wednesday.

“The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now Interpol member countries,” the organization tweeted on Wednesday.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) also said in a post on Twitter that more than 75 percent of Interpol members had supported Palestine’s membership.

“This victory was made possible because of the principled position of the majority of Interpol members,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said in a statement.

He also reiterated Palestine’s “commitment to upholding its obligations and contributing to fighting crime and furthering the rule of law.”

Wednesday’s vote came despite efforts by Israel to thwart the move. The US administration was also against the Palestinian membership bid and helped the Israeli lobby opposed to it.

A Palestinian bid to join Interpol failed last year, winning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s praise.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the 86th Interpol General Assembly at the Beijing National Convention Center on September 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Interpol facilitates international police cooperation. Israel fears that Palestine’s membership would lead the organization to issue arrest warrants against Israeli politicians and military officials.

In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.

Since then, Palestine has joined dozens of international organizations and agreements, among them the International Criminal Court and UNESCO. 

Palestine’s flag was hoisted for the first time at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2015.

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