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Israel celebrates membership of OECD
Israel has won a rare diplomatic victory in the face of stiff Palestinian opposition by being accepted into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Israel has tried for 16 years to join the exclusive club of prosperous economies.
The OECD said it invited Israel, Estonia and Slovenia to become members after they met specific criteria as developed, open economies. The three increase OECD membership to 34.The new members ''will contribute to a more plural and open OECD that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economic architecture'', the OECD secretary-general, Angel Gurria, said in Paris.
He said Israeli politics and Middle East tensions were ''not the main focus of discussion'' but acknowledged ''the entire process of membership is political''.
The OECD's legal director, Nicola Bonucci, said on Monday a study will ''quantify the impact'' of data included by Israel from the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements. Ms Bonucci said that issue ''was discussed at length''.
The head of Israel's central bank, Stanley Fischer, said membership ''is an important step towards Israel's integration into the global economy, and is an expression of Israel's commitment to meet the highest international standards''.
Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said: ''Today, a new investment avenue has been opened for us.'' He said he hoped to make Israel one of the world's top 15 economies over the next decade.