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Dubai's ex-police chief says would visit 'Israeli friend' before Qatar in 'outrageous' normalisation tweets Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Dubai's ex-police chief says would visit 'Israeli friend' before Qatar in 'outrageous' normalisation tweets

Dhahi Khalfan regularly calls for normalisation [Twitter]

Date of publication: 6 June, 2020

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Dubai's former police chief Dhahi Khalfan angered many Arab Twitter users when he called for referring to israel as a 'friend' and said he will visit Tel Aviv before Doha.
Dubai's former police chief Dhahi Khalfan sparked outrage after tweeting in support of normalisation with Israel, saying he would visit Tel Aviv before Qatar.

"Instead of saying the Israeli enemy... say the Israeli friend... where's the problem", the Emirati official said on Friday.

He added that refusing to recognise Israel lacks logic, saying: "Israel is a country based on knowledge, knowledge, prosperity, and close ties with all the countries of the developed world."

"Those who do not recognise a state in Israel's scientific standing, are the Jews originally from Hawaii?"

Read also: Gulf officials dismiss Palestinian cause in video Netanyahu leaked

In a later tweet, Khalfan said that he is ready to visit Israel and would do so before he visits Qatar.

"I declare that I support comprehensive and lasting peace with Israel ... If peace happens with Israel and after that reconciliation with Qatar, I will go Israel and I will not visit Qatar even if they say the Kaaba is there," Khalfan tweeted, adding laughing emojis.

The Kaaba is a building at the centre of Islam's most holiest site, the Great Mosque of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a site Muslims visit during their Hajj pilgrimage, considered a pillar of their faith.

The UAE official's animosity towards Qatar reflects a regional diplomatic crisis that took place when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a blockade on the tiny peninsula in June 2017.

Read also: GCC crisis explained: Why is Qatar under blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies?

Khalfan’s tweets were met with widespread anger across the Arab world.

The controversial Emirati has a reputation for calling for violence, including bombing Al Jazeera and urging Egypt to strike Qatar.

The UAE has no diplomatic relations with Israel, but has in recent years supported normalising relations with the Jewish state and encouraged other Arab states to do so.

In February, it was revealed that Abu Dhabi coordinated meetings between Sudanese leader and military chief Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to encourage Khartoum’s normalisation.

In December, UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted an article from the UK current affairs magazine, The Spectator saying that “a new Arab-Israeli alliance” was “taking shape in the Middle East”.

The article, by the pro-Israeli reformed Islamic extremist Ed Husain, was shared without comment by bin Zayed. The tweet was immediately welcomed by Netanyahu who retweeted with the words, “I welcome the closer relations between Israel and many Arab states. The time has come for normalisation and peace.”

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