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    Palestinians can't cross to Israel during the closure, taking a toll on earnings and commerce. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 April 2019

The closure of the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) crossings and the crossings into Gaza will affect tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel every day

Israeli authorities declared that all crossings into the occupied West Bank and Gaza will be closed from midnight Monday until midnight Tuesday, as Israelis prepare to head to the polls on April 9.

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The closure was made in accordance with an alleged “assessment” of the security situation and it will end on Wednesday after another security “evaluation” of the situation is made, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Exceptions will be made for humanitarian cases but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the occupied territories.

The closure will affect tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel every day. During these closings, which are also implemented during festivities and holidays, workers are not compensated for the losses in earnings or commerce. 

On average, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry, over 60,000 people per day entered Israel for work, medical treatment, humanitarian assistance or commerce in 2017. Yet the measures won’t apply to Israelis who will still be permitted to move freely between the West Bank and Israel.

Israelis are due to elect a new government and prime minister with polling stations set to be open between 07:00 and 22:00 local time (04:00 and 19:00 GMT).  Approximately 6,3 million citizens will be eligible to vote at 10,720 polling stations across Israel, plus another 96 at Israeli embassies and consulates abroad.

Palestinian citizens in Israel are eligible to vote but are calling for a boycott of Tuesday's parliamentary election to protest against a recent law that reduced them to a second-class citizen. The 2018 basic law declared that only Jews have a right to self-determination in the "nation-state" of the Jewish people.

"The nation-state law was like a wake-up call for many people, making them realize this country will never be a country for all its citizens," said Muhannad Abu Ghosh, a pro-boycott activist.

Despite holding Israeli citizenship, Palestinians say that from the fertile Galilee in the north to the Negev desert in the south, they face discrimination in areas such as health, education, and housing.

According to figures released by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 1.9 million Palestinians in Israel's roughly 9 million population at the start of 2019.  

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