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Interpol approves ‘State of Palestine’ as member state

This Oct.16, 2007 file photo shows the entrance hall of Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, central France. International police agency Interpol has voted Wednesday to include the "State of Palestine" as a member, in a new boost to Palestinian efforts for international recognition.(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)
GAZA CITY: Interpol has accepted Palestine as a new member country, despite Israeli attempts to obstruct the move.
A statement on the international police organization’s website said the vote brought the total number of member states to 192. Some 75 countries voted in favor of Palestine joining, with 24 voting against and 34 abstaining.
A Palestinian bid to join Interpol failed last year at an annual meeting in Indonesia, along with bids from the Solomon Islands and Kosovo. The three bids were considered on the same ballot, with 62 countries voting to suspend the bid until this year, 56 voting to deal with the issue, and 37 abstaining.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the recent vote, and minister Riyad Al-Maliki thanked all members who voted in favor of Interpol membership.
“The State of Palestine considers this membership and the responsibilities that it entails as an integral part of its responsibility toward the Palestinian people and a moral commitment to the citizens of the world,” he said.
“Palestine is ready and able to shoulder these obligations and responsibilities as an active partner in the international community, and to contribute effectively and significantly to advancing our common core values as nations.
“Palestine will continue to struggle to raise the status and role of Palestine at the international level and defend the rights of our people in security and freedom by all diplomatic and legal means available and including joining the relevant international institutions.”
Hamas’ representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka stated on his Facebook page, “congratulations to Palestine for being a member of Interpol despite American and (the) Zionist entity (Israel’s) objection.”
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi also released a statement cheering Interpol membership and expressed gratitude to the 75 countries that “upheld their principles and voted in favor of Palestine becoming a member.”
“Such an acceptance sends a clear message to the Israeli government that we are not population centers at its mercy; we believe in a system that is based on the global rule of law and due process, and one which enforces accountability and cooperation at the international level. We will persist in our efforts to seek membership in other multinational agencies and organizations; this is consistent with the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and statehood,” she said.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) obtained Interpol observer status in 2011, but applied for full membership in 2015.
Maj. Gen. Hazem Atallah, chief of the Palestinian Civil Police, said in a statement to Arab News that the force will “continuously develop its human and logistical capabilities and provide better services at all levels.”
He pledged that the police force will work with other countries “in the interests of peace and international security” and combating crime.
Israel has repeatedly opposed Palestinian efforts to join organizations including the UN and International Criminal Court, accusing Palestinian officials of attempting to gain statehood recognition in indirect ways.
Israel has imposed punitive measures on both Palestinians and international organizations for allowing the PA membership.

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