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article imageEgypt plans to open border with Gaza, further signaling shift

By Michael Krebs     Apr 29, 2011 in World
Despite Israeli concerns on the matter, Egypt is planning to open its border with Gaza in yet another sign of its international strategic shift in the wake of Hosni Mubarak's ousting.
Egypt announced plans to unseal its border with Gaza, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The action represents a show of solidarity Gaza Strip Palestinians who had been disallowed a porous border with Egypt under Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The closed border, implemented at Israel's request, has been an unpopular policy among the Egyptian people and was a key protest position among those demanding Mr. Mubarak step down.
“We’ll open the crossing point for individuals in a continuous way,” Menha Bakhoum, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said, according to Bloomberg. “The details are still being worked out.”
Israel opposes an open border between Egypt and Gaza, saying a sealed border prevents the easy proliferation of weapons among Hamas and other Palestinian militants.
Hamas is of considerable concern to Israel. As Xinhua reported on Friday, Israel has rejected a bid for a unified Palestinian government inclusive of Hamas delegates.
"The Palestinian Authority must choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas. Peace with both is impossible because of the Hamas goal of destroying the state of Israel, which it expresses openly," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Israel's rejection, according to Xinhua.
But Egypt's decision on the border underscores what has increasingly been seen as strategic shifts away from Israeli and US interests in the region. Between improved relations with Iran and a populace that is open to throwing away its peace treaty with Israel, as reported in Digital Journal, the Egyptian moves are reflective of the dramatic change that is occurring rapidly in the wake of Hosni Mubarak's departure.
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