Beijing: Interpol on Wednesday approved the Palestinian Authority's membership bid, a new victory in its drive for international representation despite strong Israeli opposition.
Israel lobbies hard against Palestinian efforts to join global organisations to advance their goal of statehood. It claimed victory last year when the Palestinian bid to join the global police body was suspended.
Interpol approved the Palestinian application along with a bid by the Solomon Islands during its annual general assembly in Beijing, AFP reported.
"New member countries State of Palestine and Solomon Islands bring INTERPOL's membership to 192," it said on its Twitter account.
In a secret vote of representatives of the international police organisation’s members in China, Palestinian membership was approved by 75 to 24 votes, with 34 abstentions – exceeding the two-thirds requirement of yes to no votes, according to The Guardian.
"Palestine's membership is the outcome of members defending this organisation's raison d'etre and advancing its core values, and a clear rejection of attempts at cynical manipulation and political bullying," Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in a statement.
Israel's foreign ministry did not immediately comment.
Palestine gained observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and since then has joined more than 50 international organisations and agreements, according to the Palestinian foreign ministry.
Among them are the International Criminal Court and the United Nations heritage body UNESCO.
Interpol, which is based in the French city of Lyon, eases the exchange of information between police forces and issues "red notices" -- non-binding notifications of arrest warrants -- at the request of a member state or an international tribunal.
Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub had told AFP on Sunday that "We're looking to be in all of the international institutions, including Interpol, as an organised state."
"We are looking for the Palestinian state to be a positive contributor toward security and stability in the region and in the international community," he said.
Regarding Israel's opposition, he said: "They don't want any progress toward a Palestinian state."
"Israel does not want us to be in FIFA. How would they want us to be in Interpol?" he said.
Alan Baker, a former senior Israeli diplomat and legal expert, said the membership application was "just a political PR move" on the part of the Palestinians.
"Because they're not interested in negotiating (with Israel) they're trying to achieve the end result, which is a state, through international organisations," he said ahead of Wednesday's vote.
Baker rejected the notion that Palestinians would be able to initiate arrest warrants at will against Israelis by joining Interpol.
He said the attempt by the Palestinians "to politicise what is a super-professional organisation is very harmful to Interpol".
Set up almost a century ago, Interpol was designed to help countries share police intelligence and cooperate against crime that crosses international borders, including terrorism and human trafficking. It now has 192 international members.