Press Release: Don't Penalize Palestinians for Interpol Recognition

Americans for Peace Now (APN) rejects calls by senior members of the Israeli cabinet to penalize the Palestinian Authority for its move to gain membership in Interpol, the international police organization.

The move passed today at the Interpol General Assembly in Beijing by a majority of 75 member-states, with 24 opposing and 34 abstaining. Subsequently, senior members of the Israeli government called for various punitive measured to be taken against the Palestinian Authority (PA) on a broad range of issues.

While recognizing that moves to gain statehood recognition on the international arena will not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, APN urges the Israeli government as well as the Trump administration – both vehemently opposed the acceptance of Palestine as a member of Interpol – to focus on the positive. Instead of punishing the PA, APN urges the government of Israel to use this and other Palestinian actions on the international arena to advance a two-state peace deal.

APN believes that the Palestinian Authority's pursuit of statehood recognition internationally is both legal and legitimate. It is particularly legitimate from a Palestinian perspective when the government of Israel refuses to engage in serious negotiations for a two-state solution and when the Trump administration, while stating its intent to broker peace, fails to endorse the two-state solution.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "What happened today in Beijing was a defeat for Israel and the Trump administration, which tried to block the Palestinians' joining the Interpol, but it need not be a defeat for peace efforts. If the goal is a two-state solution, as it should be, then the building of Palestinian state institutions, whether in the West Bank or in the international arena, should be harnessed as a potential step toward peace.

"Palestinians see settlement construction intensifying and hear Prime Minister Netanyahu vowing to further intensify it and to never remove any Israeli from West Bank settlements. They are faced with an Israeli government that celebrates the settlements and the occupation – as it did today in Gush Etzion. One should therefore not be surprised when Palestinians conclude that their only non-violent path to ending the occupation is through internationalizing their cause. If they conclude that the bilateral diplomatic path – negotiations with Israel – is blocked, they will continue pursuing a multilateral path by seeking more international recognition."

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