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    A Palestinian worker repairs a smuggling tunnel after it was flooded by Egyptian security forces, beneath the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip November 2, 2015.

    Author: Palestine-Egypt Border Crossing Deal ‘Much Ado About Very Little’

    © REUTERS / MOHAMMED SALEM
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    Hamas has relinquished control of crucial border crossings between the Gaza Strip and both Egypt and Israel to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The move is one of the first breaks in ongoing negotiations between Egypt and Palestinian groups to improve humanitarian conditions in Palestine.

    Nickolay Mladenov, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, praised the move as a "landmark development," adding that he hoped "the positive momentum [would] be maintained."

    But not everyone was so optimistic. Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik's Loud and Clear spoke to Miko Peled, an Israeli-American activist and author who is a fervent critic of his country of origin, frequently and publicly referring to Israel as an "apartheid state" and the Israeli military as a "well-oiled ethnic cleansing machine."

    Peled denied that the announcement had any significant meaning regarding seeing an end or even a de-escalation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I think the big picture is neither Fatah nor Hamas control anything," he said. "The authority they actually possess within the life of Palestinians and their ability to to affect the lives of Palestinians is very limited. Israel controls the life and the death and the amount of water and the travel restrictions, and everything else. so I think [the border crossing handover] isn't much ado about nothing but much ado about very little."

    "Until such a time when the siege is lifted, the change is going to be a very small thing, if it all. Israel has no intention of lifting the siege. The Egyptians have no intention of lifting the siege, or in stopping the collaboration with Israel, and the international community is not stepping in to lift the siege. If we were to hope for something, we would hope for Fatah and Hamas would do away with negotiating with Israel and renew their efforts at resisting and renew their efforts at supporting the boycott in the BDS [Boycott, Divest and Sanctions] movement. That's the direction they need to go if they're going to work together."

    Peled called any attempts to negotiate with or "appease" the Israeli government useless, and denied the existence of a Palestinian state at present. "The PA is completely committed to negotiating with Israel, which is why it's losing ground. It's really committed to maintaining the facade of a Palestinian State which doesn't exist, and you've got Palestinian ambassadors who are not really ambassadors pretending to be ambassadors around the world. [They're] sitting in buildings that are not embassies but they call them embassies. There's just this charade going on which only contributes to the idea that everything is fine, it's a conflict between two nations."

    "The Egyptian regime is collaborating with Israel. [Benjamin] Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, just gave a talk at the opening session of the Knesset. One thing that he said was that Israel's relations with the Arab world have never been better. I think that has to do with the fact that Israel has worked tirelessly to make sure that Arab leaders around it like [Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi] in Egypt, like the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan, and others are on the take. They are collaborating with Israel; they do not care one bit for the Palestinians, or for that matter, for the will of their own people."

    "We know that the democratically elected president of Egypt [Mohamed Morsi] is in prison with a life sentence hanging over his head. Sisi is the leader of a military coup, and the reason he is there is because [support for Israel] was the condition [for his ascension]." Peled did not say who he believed arbitrated that Sisi must support Israel in exchange for the presidency.

    "I hate to sound pessimistic but this is not the direction this needs to go. The direction that I think they should go in is strengthening the efforts to boycott Israel, to isolate Israel, to fight against Israel by all means necessary to bring the freedom that the people in Gaza and Palestinian people in general deserve."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    rapprochement, Fatah, Hamas, Palestinian Authority, Benjamin Netanyahu, Miko Peled, Gaza Strip, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Palestine, Egypt
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