The authorities of the United Arab Emirates made an unusual decision. Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan al-Tamim said on March 1 that anyone who looks or sounds like a citizen of Israel will be blocked from entering the country, even if a suspected individual produces a passport of a different state.
“It is easy for us to identify [Israelis], through their face or when they speak any other language. We used to respect them when they would come holding European passports; we regarded them as Europeans and never treated them badly. But from now on, anyone we suspect to have a dual citizenship, they will be treated with great suspicion,” the police chief said.
The decision is directly linked with the assassination of a high-ranking official of Palestine’s Hamas movement in one of Dubai hotels on February 20. UAE officials believe that Mahmud al-Mabhuh, one of the founders of the military wing of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, was killed by Israel’s Mossad. The secret agents most likely used passports of other countries to commit the crime.
It is not quite clear, though, how Arab officials are going to identify Israelis. They would obviously have no difficulty in identifying Orthodox bearded hasids for their side-locks, hats and glasses. It looks like a joke though: “Wearing a hat and a pair of glasses makes you a Jew.”
Such people would never think of traveling to Emirates. Will Emirates liken itself to the Third Reich and use rulers and protractors to measure the shape of the nose, earlaps and the skull structure? If it does, the UAE will lose all of its friends in the West.
The police of Dubai suspect 26 people in the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh. The suspects hold passports of Britain, Ireland, Germany, France and other countries.
Mossad’s participation in the plot to kill the high-ranking official of Hamas is just a theory. Even if we assume that it is true, the passports, which the suspected Israelis produced, may not necessarily be fake. Israel has dual citizenship agreements with dozens of countries, including those mentioned in the criminal case.
It may just so happen that law-abiding Britons or Australians will not be allowed to enter the UAE. Such a state of affairs will quickly develop into an international scandal. There are influential Jewish communities in the two countries, and the members of those communities hold two passports on absolutely legal grounds.
In general, the situation is a comic one. However, the scandal related to the assassination of the Hamas official does not look like a joke at all.
Israeli scientist of politics, Avigdor Eskin, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the police chief of Dubai released the above-mentioned statements for propaganda purposes.
“One has to take account of Oriental pride here. Someone attacked your territory and you were not able to prevent the crime. Nevertheless, it is easy to see that it was an attempt to distract people’s attention from the most important question. Why did the law-enforcement bodies of the UAE ignore the presence of an outstanding terrorist on the territory of the country?”
Sergey Demidenko, an expert with the Institute for Strategic Analysis, said that the incident in the Emirates would not affect the dialogue between Arabs and Israelis just because of the fact that there is no such dialogue.
“Israel has formal relations with only two Arab states – Egypt and Jordan. There is nothing new in the current situation. It is just another episode in the long-standing opposition. Israel’s relations with the Arab world can be characterized with indifference and scandals. The number of scandals has been growing recently – one may recollect the liquidation of Hezbollah’s high-ranking officials last year. More scandals are coming soon, I can be sure of that.
“The new Israeli administration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the head conduct a tough political course against Israel’s adversaries. They try to neutralize them where they can,” Demidenko said.