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Interpol allows Palestine in

PALESTINE’S foreign minister praised Interpol yesterday for approving his country’s affiliation in defiance of occupying Israel.

Riyad al-Malki called the decision, taken at the global law enforcement agency’s general assembly in Beijing, “a vote of confidence in Palestine’s law enforcement capabilities and commitment to the core values of the organisation.

“Palestine’s admission to Interpol is a victory for law enforcement and global co-operation.”

Interpol announced the inclusion of the “State of Palestine” as well as the Solomon Islands on its website yesterday.

Mr Malki hailed “the principled position of the majority of Interpol members,” calling the vote “a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying.”

“Palestine is ready and able to shoulder these obligations and responsibilities as an active partner in the international community,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority applied for Interpol membership in 2015 and submitted a formal letter this July promising not to use the organisation “for any political, military, racial or religious interventions or activities.”

Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin — a close ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — urged retaliation against Palestine in response to the Interpol vote. He said Israel should cancel work and entry permits for Palestinians and special travel permits for their leaders, among other measures.

Former Israeli PM Ehud Barak called it “another failure” for Mr Netanyahu.

The UN general assembly recognised Palestine as a non-member observer state in 2012. UN heritage agency Unesco approved it as a full member in 2011, prompting the US and Israel to suspend their funding as punishment.

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