Palestine has been officially recognised by Interpol as a member state in a vote at the international police organisation’s general assembly in Beijing.
A tweet from the official Interpol Twitter account on Wednesday read: “The State of Palestine and the Solomon Islands are now Interpol member countries”.
At Interpol’s annual General Assembly meeting in Beijing, Palestine’s membership bid was accepted with 75 countries voting yes, 24 voting no, and 34 abstaining.
Observers said the move represented a stinging diplomatic defeat for Israel who fiercely objected to the Palestinians joining Interpol, arguing that they could hinder rather than aid Interpol’s efforts.
The US administration also objected to Ramallah’s membership bid and helped Israel lobby against it.
Minutes after the vote, Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, celebrated the move, saying the overwhelming vote in support of Palestine’s membership is “a vote of confidence in Palestine’s law enforcement capabilities and commitment to the core values of the organization. Palestine’s admission to INTERPOL is a victory for law enforcement and global cooperation.”
According to al-Malki, the victory was made possible “because of the principled position of the majority of Interpol members.”
He added: “Palestine’s membership is the outcome of members defending this organisation’s raison d’être and advancing its core values, and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying.”
In 2012, the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinian Authority’s observer status at the U.N. to “non-member state” from “entity”, like the Vatican.
The step fell short of full U.N. membership, but it had important legal implications in allowing the Palestinians to access international bodies should they choose to join.