- Palestine has officially joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, according to a statement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
- The organisation is the official UN body charged with the implementation of the 1993 convention aimed at preventing the manufacture, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.
- Nearly every state in the world has signed and ratified the convention and only four have not, including Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan.
- Israel is a signatory to the treaty but has not ratified it.
- The move by Palestine is the latest in a raft of accessions to international bodies, having joined Interpol in September 2017 and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in April 2015.
- ICC membership allows Palestinians to submit referrals to the organisation asking its prosecutors to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israelis.
- In 2012, the state was granted non-observer status of the UN, a move opposed by the US and Israel, but voted through by UN General Assembly.
- In its 21-year-long existence, the OPCW has destroyed 96 percent of all chemical weapons stockpiles declared by member states.
About the OPCW and the CWC:
- The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.
- The OPCW has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
- Only four countries, including Israel, have yet to sign up to the CWC, which aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
- The CWC prohibits the development, production, acquisition and stockpiling of chemical weapons by its member states.