NEW YORK – The U.S. will not honor Palestinian arrest warrants issued through Interpol, a senior official in Washington said following the international police organization’s vote to include ‘Palestine’ as a full member state.
The decision drew heavy criticism from Israel, which is concerned that the Palestinian Authority will leverage its membership to issue “red notices,” or warrants for the arrest and extradition of Israeli officials. Omar Awadallah, the head of the UN organizations department in the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, said following the vote that the Palestinians “now have the right to sue anyone,” including Israelis who have committed alleged crimes in Palestinian territory.
Indeed, another reason for Israel’s staunch opposition to the vote was that it disregards any need for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians regarding a final status solution to the conflict, instead recognizing a de facto Palestinian state in all of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
However, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said any “red notices” issued by the Palestinians “will not be recognized in many countries, including the United States.”
Cardin added that Palestinian membership would prove detrimental to future negotiations.
“The international community has a great deal at stake in pursuing the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Cardin said. “There’s only one way forward: two states living side by side in peace; a Palestinian state and a Jewish state. To try to use international organizations to advance the cause only sets back that opportunity.”
A senior Palestinian official contradicted Awadallah, saying that the PA would not use Interpol to sue Israelis and that the purpose of joining the group was “to pursue [Palestinian] criminals who commit crimes here and escape.” He singled out Mohammed Dahlan, a top rival of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Dahlan, who lives in exile in the UAE, was convicted by the PA of corruption charges. In absentia, he has built up a loyal base of supporters in the West Bank and Gaza.
The vote took place on Wednesday at Interpol’s General Assembly in Beijing. According to the Palestine Liberation Organization, 75% of member countries voted in favor of ‘Palestine’s’ admittance, although Interpol itself has yet to confirm this.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Maliki said the vote was a “victory for law enforcement” and a “vote of confidence in the capacity of law enforcement in Palestine.”
U.S. Jewish groups slammed the decision, as did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at a meeting in Jerusalem that the move “severely impair[s] the chances of achieving peace” and vowed that “Palestinian diplomatic warfare would not go unanswered.”
Breitbart Jerusalem’s Aaron Klein compiled a list of reasons as to why Interpol’s decision to allow the PA full membership is dangerous, beginning with the fact that the Ramallah-based government will now have access to sensitive information regarding terrorists and terror groups that the PA itself supports.