Defying U.S., Israel, Interpol to go ahead with vote on Palestinian membership

By Allen Cone   |   Sept. 25, 2017 at 2:39 PM
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Sept. 25 (UPI) -- International law enforcement agency Interpol will go ahead with a vote on whether to accept the Palestinian Authority as a member -- a prospect vehemently opposed by Israel and the United States.

The organization's board of directors decided Monday that the General Assembly will vote on whether to accept the Palestinian Authority's police force as a members.

The organization will take up the issue Tuesday at a meeting in Beijing.

Senior Israeli officials have been working with their U.S. counterparts to find a way to prevent the Palestinian Authority from gaining the same status as the Israel police -- including trying to persuade Interpol's leadership to tighten criteria for new members, as well as requiring a two-thirds majority approval.

At last year's meeting in Indonesia, Interpol decided to take no action regarding the Palestinian Authority's membership. In that vote, 62 supported postponement, 56 wanted to decide immediately and 37 abstained.

In August, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said the Palestinian police force had met the necessary professional standards.

Asher Ben Artzi, former director of Interpol in the Israeli Police, told i24NEWS that the Israeli police do not trust their Palestinian counterparts with intelligence it shares with foreign states.

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

Israel has also said the Palestinian Authority is not legally an independent sovereign state, because it doesn't comply with the conditions of the internationally recognized Oslo Accords.

Last month, the U.N. World Tourism Organization -- another body mulling Palestinian membership -- announced its vote has been postponed until 2019. Israel and the United States also objected to PA membership into that group.

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