Israel claimed victory on Tuesday for helping to delay by at least eight months a Palestinian bid to join the International Police Organization (INTERPOL).
At the organization’s 85th General Assembly in Bali, Indonesia, the 190 member states of INTERPOL suspended until July 2017 the application requests of “the Republic of Kosovo, the State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands.”
None of the requests were considered individually. The assembly determined that before any membership applications were processed, more procedural work was necessary.
In a statement it posed on its website, INTERPOL explained that the suspension of the requests, “follows the decision made by the Executive Committee in June that a clear and transparent process with a defined set of criteria for membership of INTERPOL was required.”
To that end, INTERPOL stated, former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Hans Corell, will study the issue and present his conclusions to the 86th General Assembly in Beijing.
“While the study is being carried out, all current and future applications for membership, including those from the Republic of Kosovo, the State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands have been suspended,” it stated.
Sixty-two delegates at the meeting voted to suspend membership requests, 56 voted against it and 37 abstained.
Ammar Hejazi, a Palestinian delegate at the congress, said the body would discuss its membership bid next year.
"(Our request) was not achieved in this session because the Interpol Executive Committee said it would study new membership requests next year," he told Palestine Radio.
Israel worked against the Palestinian Authority in INTERPOL as part of its fierce diplomatic battle with the Palestinians who seek de-facto recognition of statehood through the application to be recognized as a state in as many international bodies as possible.
In addition, the Palestinians are pushing forward resolutions against Israel in many international bodies, particularly the United Nations.
The PA has relied in this pursuit on the automatic majority support it already enjoys in the international arena, particularly given that some 136 UN member states have already recognized Palestinian statehood. But this does not include most of the Western powers.
At the INTERPOL General Assembly, Israel’s attempt to block the PA was helped by some lucky timing and geopolitics, because Kosovo also sought INTERPOL membership in that same session.
Like the PA, Kosovo is also seeking unilateral de-facto statehood recognition by joining as many international bodies as possible.
Russia in particular is opposed to Kosovo unilateral independence. The vote occurred just before Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Israel begins on Thursday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the vote, "This morning we stopped the Palestinian attempt to become a member of Interpol. It was a difficult effort, but it bore fruit."
"It reflects what I have said is occurring, which is that Israel's standing in the international community is changing, as it makes ties with additional nations."
Netanyahu also said that "it is important to take into account that this battle, the battle in international organizations, reflects not just our interests, but the interests of many nations."
"This battle will most certainly continue," he added.
Meanwhile, a joint statement by the Foreign Ministry and Israel Police said: "The vote represents a major achievement and reflects the shift in Israel's international status and the successes of Israeli diplomacy."
"Sixty-two countries have voted in the conference in Bali, Indonesia, against raising the Palestinian request as part of the agenda," the statement added.
The joint police-Foreign Ministry statement added that Israel viewed the Palestinian attempt to join Interpol as "part of the ongoing Palestinian campaign to evade a direct negotiation process and to allocate the conflict to professional international bodies in a way that disrupts their duties."
Hejazi said Israel could not stop the Palestinians from joining any international bodies.
"They (Israel) are trying to score fake and unreal victories, they are selling their people illusions," he said.Reuters and Jpost staff contributed to this report.
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