“We don’t give a permit for Israeli passport holders to enter the country,” Mohammed Ali al-Mohari of the Entry Permits Section of Dubai’s Interior Ministry said in a telephone interview. “It’s a rule.”
Asked to explain the reason behind the policy, Al-Mohari laughed and said that he thinks this is the case for most Arab countries. “This is how it is in most of the Arabic lands, I am sure,” he said.
He added, though, that the holder of a foreign passport bearing stamps which indicated that he or she had once visited the Jewish state would not encounter any problems entering the country.
Dubai’s refusal to allow Israelis to set foot on its soil also features prominently on a government-run website belonging to the Gulf Arab nation.
On the website of the Dubai Government’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, under the section titled “Visa Regulations,” it states that, “Nationals of ‘Israel’ may not enter the U.A.E.”, a reference to the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a constituent state.
The reaffirmation of Dubai’s policy of barring entry to Israelis came just one day after Democratic and Republican legislators in Washington blasted the country’s ongoing participation in the Arab boycott of the Jewish state.
Dubai’s continued enforcement of the anti-Israel trade ban was first revealed in a report in Monday’s Jerusalem Post.
Republican Senator Ted Stevens and Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer both lambasted Dubai for its policy on Israel, as did former presidential nominee Senator John Kerry, who said, “This boycott not only violates at least the spirit of U.S. law, it is inconsistent with everything we believe in as Americans.”
They spoke at a hearing of the US Senate Commerce Committee, which convened Monday to discuss US President George W. Bush’s controversial plan to sell six American ports to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the Government of Dubai.
At the hearing, Edward H. Bilkey, the chief operating officer of Dubai Ports World, was grilled by senators after confirming that his firm’s parent holding company does enforce the Arab boycott. He insisted, however, that this would not have any impact on the administration of American ports were the proposed acquisition to be completed.
In response, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement calling on the Bush Administration to drop the ports deal.
“That Dubai Ports World is owned by the emirate of Dubai, which actively supports the Arab economic boycott of Israel, should be grounds enough to torpedo any deal with the United States on port operations,” said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman. “Dubai should not benefit from America’s open trade policies unless it discontinues its anti-Israel activity.”