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‘Trolling to another level’: Palestinians pose as Emiratis in Tel Aviv

Israelis flock to Palestinian men in dishdashas for photographs in viral video praised for its humour
Palestinians wearing traditional Emirati clothes as they filmed themselves in Tel Aviv on Saturday (Screengrab/ Twitter)

Palestinian citizens of Israel are often subjected to hostility and suspicion in their country. But one group of men found a way of getting a rapturous reception on Israel's streets: pretend to be Emirati.

A video of Palestinian men from the northern Israeli town of Kfar Qassem walking around Tel Aviv in Emirati dress as people flock around them for photographs has gone viral, eliciting much laughter.

In it, four men wearing clothing resembling the dishdasha and ghutra, white robes and scarves traditional in the Gulf, are seen in a merry mood on a Tel Aviv street.

“Everyone is going to Dubai, we came and did Dubai ourselves,” one says.

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A group of Israelis can be seen taking photos of and with the men. The Palestinians can also be heard expressing their surprise at the reaction. 

“Guys, everyone thinks that we are actually from Dubai and they’re coming to take pictures of us,” one of them says. 

The video garnered a huge reaction online with almost 350,000 views and 8,000 likes on Twitter.

It comes after Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a controversial, US-brokered agreement in September, normalising ties between the countries.

Israel and the UAE have built close ties clandestinely for years, but now relations are official, a raft of business, tourism and security contracts have been inked by the two.

Palestinians have decried the deal as a "stab in the back" by the Emiratis, who claimed to have shelved Israel's already stuttering plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Israeli officials have subsequently said they still are intent on annexation.

Some online have honed in on how quickly the Israelis have embraced the Emiratis.

"Omg... The love affair between Israelis and Emiratis is so overwhelming. Makes me sick!" one said

Others have praised the Palestinians for their humour, and delighted in the apparent "trolling".

There have been several reports of informal UAE visits to occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque since the 15 September agreement, with local Palestinians publicly denouncing them over their country's pro-normalisation stance. 

Earlier this week, Emirati singer Walid Al-Jasem was pictured by the Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of a UAE normalisation delegation. 

Emirati investment in Israel is picking up pace.

Last week, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, moved close to buying an almost 50 percent stake in Beitar Jerusalem, an Israeli football club known for its racist ultra fans.

Beitar Jerusalem is the only club in the Israeli Premier League to not have had any players in its history from the Palestinian community in Israel, which makes up 20 percent of the country's population.

The club has faced several penalties for its fans chanting racist slogans like "Death to Arabs" and its opposition to bringing Palestinian citizens of Israel into the team. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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