MembersPalestinians, Interpol and the Tools of Authoritarianism

The Palestinian Authority’s acceptance into the International Police Organization, more commonly known as Interpol, was troubling to Israel for a number of reasons.

By Ryan Jones |
Photo: Ahmad Khateib/Flash90

On the surface, it was decried as yet another premature recognition of Palestinian sovereignty. Indeed, the various signed agreements between the parties preclude the Palestinians from conducting any kind of foreign policy prior to a final status agreement, a stipulation that has been violated on many fronts with littleto-no response from Israel and Western power brokers involved in the peace process.

But, for the Palestinian leadership, getting into Interpol had less to do with recognition of sovereignty, though they did play up that aspect. The Palestinians already had the United Nations in their back pocket. Interpol is a small fish in this regard. And, while Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas boasted that the move had enabled his regime to “sue anyone,” it already had that ability thanks to the sympathy of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, both located in The Hague. It is conceivable that for the Palestinian Authority, joining Interpol was much more about internal politics; about gaining the tools and resources needed to hunt down political opponents.

It’s little wonder that one of the...

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