International police organization, Interpol, has decided to accept Palestine and Solomon Islands as its new member countries.
Interpol approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing on Wednesday. “New member countries State of Palestine and Solomon Islands bring Interpol’s membership to 192,” it said on its Twitter account.
It did not detail the voting but candidacies require the approval of a two-thirds majority of countries present at the general assembly, excluding abstentions. The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s negotiations affairs department said on Twitter they had received more than 75 percent of the vote.
“Palestine’s membership is the outcome of members defending this organization’s raison d’etre (right for entry) and advancing its core values, and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying,” Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in a statement.
Set up almost a century ago, Interpol was designed to help countries share police intelligence and cooperate against crime that crosses international borders, including terrorism and human trafficking,. It now has 192 international members.
It is perhaps best known to the wider public for its “red notice” system, which issues requests to locate and provisionally arrest individuals pending extradition, regardless of their nationality and residence.
The Palestinian bid was part of a series of efforts to push for membership of international institutions and thereby advance the goal of statehood.
Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organizations and agreements, including the international criminal court and the United Nations heritage body, Unesco.
Israel campaigned to block the Interpol move and made a series of procedural moves in an attempt to prevent the issue coming to a vote.
Although Israel opposes all moves by Palestine to join international bodies – arguing that it is not a state – the issue of Interpol has been particularly sensitive.
After Israel blocked the last Palestinian attempt to join Interpol – at last year’s annual general meeting in Indonesia – the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said his country’s diplomatic efforts had secured a major victory.
Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub had told AFP news agency on Sunday that “we’re looking to be in all of the international institutions, including Interpol, as an organized state.” “We are looking for the Palestinian state to be a positive contributor toward security and stability in the region and in the international community,” he said.
The Israeli foreign ministry made no immediate comment on Wednesday’s decision.