Israel Receives Temporary & Restricted Membership in Western Euro Group

On 26 May 2000, the Chairman of the Western European Group and Other States (WEOG) in New York sent a letter to Israelís Ambassador to the U.N., informing him of the Groupís decision to admit Israel as a member of the Group on a temporary basis. The letter also indicated certain restrictions and referred to a series of modalities defining the availability of candidacies open to Israel as a member of the Group. ¬†

The letter indicated that Israel will not be able to present candidatures for a period of 2 years.¬† Moreover, even after this period, Israelís membership will not affect existing rotation schedules, some of which, like ECOSOC, cover until 2021.¬† More importantly, the letter indicated that Israel must continue to commit itself to actively seeking membership in the Asian Group, and should report to WEOG every 2 years in writing on the results. ¬†

The WEOG step was taken in light of Israelís current inability to join the Asian Group and it concerns group activity at U.N. headquarters in N.Y. only.¬† In seeking to become a member of WEOG, Israel had sought a totally different status of normal and unrestricted membership.¬† Towards that end, a lot of pressure was exerted by Israeli and U.S. official, particularly by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.¬† Several American Jewish groups waged a campaign as well.

At the same time, many Arabs had hoped that WEOG, and especially the European Union members, would not take any step in terms of offering membership, particularly given the status of the peace process and the importance of the idea of regional integration in the Middle East.  In this regard it is clear that the WEOG decision has obviously complicated matters without any immediate practical results.