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Israel to close West Bank, Gaza crossings to Palestinians on election day

Terminals to reopen at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, pending ‘situational assessment,’ military says; exceptions to be made for humanitarian cases

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Palestinian women at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90/File)
Palestinian women at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90/File)

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday announced that it would close all crossings into Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to Palestinians at midnight, ahead of Monday’s national elections.

The closure — a standard practice for religious and national holidays — would begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday and last for 24 hours, pending a “situational assessment,” the military said.

The IDF said exceptions would be made for “humanitarian, medical and special cases” with approval from the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Election day is a paid vacation day for workers in Israel. Most polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

The closure will affect the tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel every day, most of them in construction and maintenance.

Israeli citizens will still be permitted to move between the West Bank and Israel.

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