The Interpol logo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Just days after officially filing for membership in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Palestinian Authority will now seek entry into Interpol, a Ramallah official told the Ma'an news agency over the weekend.
Ahmad al-Rabie, the head of the PA's international relations and cooperation department, told Ma'an that the Palestinians plan to submit a request to join Interpol ahead of the global law enforcement agency's annual meeting sometime this year.
The PA previously sought membership in Interpol in 2011, but was instead admitted as an observer since it had not attained full-fledged statehood.
Headquartered in Lyon, France, Interpol is the second largest international organization after the United Nations, stretching across 190 countries. Its task is to facilitate cooperation between police forces with the goal of solving criminal cases that stretch across political boundaries.
Palestinian moves to join international organization without Israel's consent have angered the government in Jerusalem.
Israel on Saturday night froze the transfer of some NIS 500 million in tax collections to the Palestinian Authority and may sue its officials abroad for war crimes.
The move came as a protest of the formal application for membership of the International Criminal Court that was filed on Friday on behalf of the “State of Palestine.”
This is “robbery and an act more appropriate to pirates and not governments,” chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said of Israel’s move. The tax money is used to pay public sector salaries and is critical to running the Palestinian Authority.
“A few hours ago, we have been unofficially informed that the government of Israel has decided not to transfer our revenues, which, according to signed agreements, are the revenues they collect on our behalf and are obliged to transfer to us,” Erekat said.
The Prime Minister’s Office had no response and did not make a formal announcement regarding the decision, but Israeli officials confirmed that the funds had been frozen.