Mauritania Shuns Israel For Hizbullah

In Mauritania, one of three Arab League countries maintaining diplomatic ties with Tel-Aviv, anti-Israeli sentiments and Hizbullah's popularity have grown due to the conflict in Lebanon.

Mauritania Shuns Israel For Hizbullah

At a youth festival attended by the Israeli ambassador along with several other foreign diplomats, the youths asked the Israel diplomat to leave, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Friday, August 11. Leaders of several political parties pulled out of the ceremony in protest at his presence, and one participant had even refused to receive his prize for a poem he dedicated to Palestine in the presence of the Israeli envoy.

The youths also waved Palestinian, Lebanese and Hizbullah flags and sung songs praising Palestinian and Lebanese resistance fighters at the function. Mauritania, an Islamic republic straddling the Maghreb and black sub-Saharan Africa, established ties with Israel in 1999 when former president Maaouiya Ould Taya, deposed by a bloodless military coup a year ago, was in still power. But since the start of the war in Lebanon a month ago, which killed up to 1,000 Lebanese mostly civilians, several Mauritanian political parties, including the Taya's former ruling party, want to see government sever ties with Israel.

On July 21 some 4,000 people gathered in Nouakchott to protest "Zionist aggression" and show solidarity with Lebanon and Palestine. However, the military junta chief Ely Ould Mohamed Vall said he intends to maintain relations with Israel. But Ould Vall has stepped up his public support for the Palestinians. On Wednesday he telephoned Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas "to reaffirm to him (Mauritania's) indefectible support for the Palestinian cause".

"We believe that any settlement to the Middle East crisis which does not start with a solution to the Palestinian problem will always remain partial and provisional," said Colonel Ould Vall, cited by the official news agency AMI. "We commit ourselves to use all our contacts to this cause," he said.

Popular Nasrallah

This rise in the anti-Israeli feelings is accompanied by a reinforcement of the popularity of the Lebanese resistance movement and its leader Hassan Nasrallah, who impressed many parties, even the West, with stiff resistance to the Israeli military juggernaut. His photograph has been widely distributed across Nouakchott, as are Hizbullah flags, in particular in the working-class suburbs.

According to the local press, several children now bear the name of the Hizbullah leader. Nasrallah's speeches are regularly broadcast in Mauritania on radio and television, and he has such a following that traffic on the streets dwindles whenever he is on the air. It really seems as if the Islamic world has a new hero. In Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia, Nasrallah is being feted as the man who took on mighty Israel — and is winning.

Even in London, some marchers demanding a ceasefire in the Lebanon conflict on Saturday carried placards emblazoned with portraits of the charismatic leader. Nasrallah may not have predicted the ferocity of the response to his group's actions, but in the month since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unleashed his air force against Lebanon Hizbullah has continued to rain rocket fire across the border into Israel. In Morocco, they shouted "Well-loved Nasrallah, destroy Tel Aviv!" in Casablanca on Sunday, as well as "We are all Hizbullah, we are all Nasrallah!" and "Allah, give victory to Hezbollah!".


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16