MIDDLE EAST

Israel to impose a total closure on West Bank and Gaza Strip on election day

The Israeli military will impose a total closure on the occupied West Bank and the Strip during Tuesday's parliamentary election.

"According to the security situation evaluation and directives of the political level, total closure will be imposed in the areas of the and the terminals of the Gaza Strip," the army said in a statement.

The closure will be applied Monday midnight for 24 hours.

's is slated for Tuesday, five months after the last general election, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a majority government.

In what many observers saw as a last-minute ploy for votes, last week Netanyahu pledged to annex the Jordan Valley and other settlements in the occupied West Bank if he wins next week's election. His pledge sparked an international outcry.

Some 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians see these territories, along with the Gaza Strip, as integral for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.

International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity there illegal.

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