Barak Ravid
May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The 31 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday unanimously voted in favor of accepting Israel as a member of the group, a senior Jerusalem source said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to convene a special press conference at 4 P.M. to discuss Israel's admittance into the Paris-based international economic group.

Israeli officials have said acceptance would be an important stamp of approval for the country's economy, boosting its credit rating and strengthening ties with foreign investors.

Three OECD members - Switzerland, Ireland and Norway – had previously expressed reservations about Israel's membership. They have focused on the settlements, which Israel does not treat as a separate economic entity. All new members require the approval of all 31 members.
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria and Benjamin Netanyahu

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed Israel's acceptance into the prestigious economic organization, and said that it was "a stamp of approval for the country's economy and its achievements in technology."

"The resolution was unanimous, despite attempts by anti-Israel entities to prevent the acceptance of Israel into the OECD," Lieberman said in a statement, adding that "the fact that the attempts failed is proof of Israel's solid standing with the international community, and that it is recognized for its achievements, despite the fierce incitement against it in every conceivable arena: political, security or economic."

Foreign Ministry officials earlier said that Palestinians had intensified their efforts to keep Israel out of the organization in recent days, saying that Israel infringes on Palestinians' human rights and violates OECD values.

Israel says Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayyad called many of the leaders of OECD countries over the past day to argue against Israel's acceptance. One of the Palestinian arguments is that Israel provided false financial data by not separating out the data related to the settlements.

Israel had launched a campaign of its own to bolster support for its membership. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to several other world leaders on the


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