Israel Lobbies To Thwart Palestinian Campaign To Join Interpol

Palestinian Hamas policmen march with their police dogs along a street in Gaza City on April 24, 2013.
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – Israel is working to prevent the Palestinian Authority’s latest campaign to become a full member state in international bodies, this time by blocking its attempt to join Interpol.

Ahead of Interpol’s General Assembly on Wednesday in Beijing, the board of directors will decide whether to hold a vote on the matter or suspend it until next year – as was the case at last year’s GA with a 62-56 vote against membership. The PA needs a two-thirds majority in order to gain entry into the international police organization, which represents 190 countries.

Israel is engaged in diplomatic efforts to block the move, including getting the bid disqualified because the PA does not meet the necessary criteria.

Jerusalem has maintained that since the Palestinians have no official state, they cannot gain membership in international agencies, including those affiliated with the UN.

Israel is also concerned that if the Palestinians succeed in joining, the next step will be to push for the arrest and extradition of Israeli citizens. In addition, there is a concern that sensitive intelligence shared with Interpol could be compromised.

Chief Superintendent (ret.) Asher Ben Artzi, former director of Interpol at the Israeli Police, told i24NEWS that Israel’s police do not share the same level of sensitive information with their Palestinian counterparts as they do with other countries.

“The police have information on hostile terrorist actors that it does not want to reach the Palestinian forces,” he said.

According to the Palestinian Civil Police, in a meeting last month between Palestinian Police Chief Hazem Atallah and Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock, the latter praised the Palestinian police for having reached the professional standards necessary for gaining admission into the organization, i24NEWS reported.

The PA bid to join Interpol comes two weeks after an unsuccessful campaign to join the UN’s tourism agency. The Palestinians withdrew their request to join the World Tourism Organization after Israel pressured the U.S. to urge the PA against the move.

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