Saif Saeed, a UAE national, was taken by surprise when he saw the Shield of David, or as it is more commonly known, the Star of David, on clothes he purchased for his one-year-old son from a shop in Sharjah. On returning to the shop he complained to the vendor that attires bearing such symbols were banned in the country. The salesman explained that he usually bought his material wholesale and, therefore, wouldn't have known how they leaked into the country. He said that the clothes were made in China as indicated in the merchandise.
Mr Saeed wondered who imported the commodities and how Arab children could grow up with the Star of David stuck to their shirts, a symbol Jews were often required to wear as badges to identify themselves, much as they were in Nazi Germany.
Ali Fadil, Head of Complaints Section at the Sharjah Economic Development Department, said that the department is closely working with other government authorities to control the emirate's markets and promote its economic condition.
"We usually conduct periodical inspection raids in Sharjah to eliminate any illegal operations including counterfeit goods and banned merchandise, especially from Israel," he claimed.
"Zionist companies continually use different methods to sneak their prohibited commodities into the country, stacking them among other commodities which makes it extremely difficult for the Customs Department to spot them," Mr Fadil said.
"The customs department is under total obligation to meticulously inspect the merchandise. It is rather difficult for them to lay their hands on all banned items because the merchandise infiltrates in large quantities. In addition to that, goods enter the country from various avenues and only specimens are taken at random when checking the consignments," he added.
He said that when the department received complaints from the public regarding any violation, it takes strict measures by exacting severe fines against violators who may end up in jail accordingly, as well as withdraw and destroy banned commodities from the markets. "Investors are urged to take advantage of the excellent investment climate prevailing in the UAE by complying to UAE rules," Mr Fadil added.
Abdul Rahman Al Hashimi, Liaison office of the Israel Boycott Office in Dubai Customs Department, said that Israeli companies continually attempt to market their goods in the Middle East, including in the UAE.
"The UAE Boycott Office warns companies against any violations and obligates them to undertake not to commit further violations. Afterwards we investigate the company activities and the country of origin of the goods. Violating firms are blacklisted, and the list is updated during periodical meetings held in the office's headquarters in Damascus," he said. "In the UAE, there are only two boycott offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But we have no jurisdiction to address the problem, the shop in Sharjah for instance, which is marketing the 'star of David' shirts. In the coming days, we shall contact the departments concerned in other emirates to open boycott offices. We urge the Customs Department to conduct serious investigations to ensure commitment to the boycott.
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