Aside from members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and a few other countries, the majority of Muslims around the world need visas to enter the UAE.
Straight after the initial UAE-Bahrain normalisation deal with Israel in September, several Emirati citizens were taking selfies with visiting Israelis after the thaw in relations.
As part of the deal, both countries have now been liberated from visa obligations when they want to visit the other.
But that same generosity does not exist with regards to visa regulations and many other Muslim-majority countries.
With the exception of only GCC countries and Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Maldives, no other Muslim country’s citizens can enter the Emirates without visas. In fact, there has been a sort of ‘silent Muslim ban’ in the UAE as of late.
European Union countries are also exempted from visa regulations, while citizens of countries like the UK, the US and Australia are eligible for a visa upon arrival in the UAE. Chinese, Japanese and Russians can also enter without requiring documentation.
But if you are Turkish, Moroccan, Pakistani or Iranian, you need to queue up in front of one of those UAE embassies or consulates in your respective countries.
Citizens of some countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan also need to present additional documents to enter.
Much to the dismay of the management of several Emirati hotels, some Israelis have used the occasion to steal miscellaneous items from hotels like towels, lamps, hangers and ice containers.
The theft has been widespread enough that Israeli media has reported on it. Some even suggest that for the sake of UAE’s love affair with Israel, Emirati citizens need to brace themselves for more theft.
"They should know that normalisation with Israel means having to give up room objects for now, and maybe land later on," said Dr Abdalaziz Alkhazraj al Nasari, a Qatari presenter.
“The Steal of the Century”
Prior to the occupation of Palestine, Zionists bought up a considerable amount of land from Palestinian landowners to create the perception that more Jews lived in the Holy Land than native Palestinians.
After Israel was established in 1948, they began occupying Palestinian lands. Palestinian homes were systematically demolished in Jerusalem and other cities, establishing illegal settlements in occupied territories.
The Palestinians and their allies have often described Israeli occupation as an act of stealing Palestinian lands. Recently, an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, called Israel a ‘regime of Jewish supremacy’ and that it was running an ‘apartheid’ system of governance.
Sami al Arian, a Palestinian-American professor, called the Deal of the Century, which laid the political ground for the recent UAE-Israel normalisation deal, “the Steal of the Century”.