A number of prominent UAE public officials and personalities have taken to social media to broadcast their support for the deal, but some Emiratis are registering their opposition.

The agreement the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed on August 13 to normalise relations with Israel has since sparked a range of reactions across the spectrum online.

The culmination of years of warming ties between the two states, the deal makes the UAE only the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan to forge official ties with Israel.

While the deal immediately came under attack for disregarding Palestinian aspirations for self-determination, it was welcomed enthusiastically by social media influencers across the Gulf.

In particular, a number of prominent Emirati public officials and media personalities have taken to Twitter to welcome the deal.

Hassan Sajwani, an outspoken cheerleader for the UAE government, has gone into overdrive in defense of the deal while highlighting cultural outreach with Israelis.

Sajwani and Sharjah’s Princess Hend bint Faisal al Qasimi also celebrated the fact that Muslims from the UAE could now visit the holy Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Both tweets prompted a backlash.

Sajwani’s tweet mistakenly used a picture of the Dome of the Rock for Al Aqsa, which drew ridicule from some users.

Another pointed out that while Emiratis might be able to pray there, Palestinians cannot.

Hasan Al Mazrouei’s support was quite forthright to his 424,000 followers.

Meanwhile, Al Ain Zoo’s public outreach is now being referred to as “Zooplomacy”.

There have been public displays of penance too.

Mohammed bin Hamad broadcasted an apology to over 73,000 of his followers, saying that “I apologise to my Israeli brothers for any offense I had done in the past because I did not know who the enemy was and who was the friend.”

According to Al Araby, a video of an Emirati citizen aggrieved of having previously expressed hatred toward Israel was widely circulated on social media.

“I once made a video saying Israel should burn and other countries should pound it to the ground, but I came to realise that Israel is stronger than all of those other countries put together,” the blogger said.

“I would like to offer my apologies to Israel, its people and to Benjamin Netanyahu. A formal apology in a formal video and I pray the Israelis will forgive me,” he added.

“I was a kid, you know, a young kid and I was excited but now I understand. Your God and our God is one and our differences don’t get in the way between us”.

Influencer Faisal bin Suwaid argued over the historical context for “reconciliation with Jews”.

Others have attempted to voice their support in innovative ways.

A young Emirati girl was filmed playing Hatikvah, the Israeli anthem, with the sticker “parent of the year” at the bottom of the video, ostensibly in reference to her mother who encouraged her.

The video was shared by an official Arabic-language Israeli government account as well.

'Regional peacemakers'

Many proclaimed that the deal is evidence the UAE was taking the lead in fostering peace in the region.

Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, hailed the decision as one that combined “political realism and a bold prospect for the future” and gushed over UAE ruler Mohammed bin Zayed’s stewardship and foresight, calling it a “brave decision from an extraordinary captain.”

Hend Al Otaiba, Director of Strategic Communications at UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the decision and branded it a “historic day”.

Pushback

There have been Emiratis who have expressed disagreement with the deal as well.

Some activists and dissidents abroad stressed that it violated the UAE constitution and issued a joint statementrejecting it.

Activist Ibrahim al Haram said the deal does not represent the will of the Emirati people, and that they were “with the Arab and Muslim peoples against normalisation with the Zionist entity.”

This sentiment was echoed by outside observers as well.

Another Emirati activist Hamad Al Shamsi claimed that the crackdown on free speech in the Emirates had a negative societal impact and left it unable to “reject this betrayal”.

For a political science professor, an emoji would have to suffice.

The hashtag ‘Khalijis against normalisation’ trended in response as Gulf users looked to voice their disapproval to the agreement. The hashtag top-trended in Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s key ally.

However, influential figures like Hamad al Hosani came out urging authorities to monitor those who were critical of normalisation and take action to extradite foreigners if necessary.

“I hope our authorities will monitor the tweets of some foreign residents for their objection to the country’s policy and deport them because they represent a danger to national security,” Hosani said.

Emirates Leaks reported sources that claimed several arrests have been made in the UAE over the past few days that have targeted Emiratis, Palestinians and Jordanians for opposing Abu Dhabi’s deal with Israel.

Source: TRT World