The Israel Defense Forces have put Palestinians in the West Bank on lockdown as Israelis head to the polls. Settlers within the Palestinian territory, though, are free to come and go as they please.
The lockdown came into effect at midnight on Monday, April 8 and will end at midnight April 9. Some medical patients may be allowed to cross to enter to Israeli hospitals, but only with approval from the Defense Ministry, army officials told the Times of Israel. Palestinians in the Gaza strip are also stuck within its borders.
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Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank are free to move back and forth across the Green Line into Jerusalem and Israel, but Palestinians are banned from doing so. This means that Palestinians who hold work permits that allow them to enter Israel are unable to get to their jobs during the lockdown.
There are 2.9 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. While they are not Israeli citizens and aren’t eligible to vote in Israel’s elections, their daily lives are affected by Israeli politicians and the laws passed in the Knesset. Meanwhile, the half a million Israeli citizens who live in illegal settlements within the Palestinian West Bank are allowed to vote in Israel’s elections, despite not living within Israel.
The 1.9 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are also greatly affected by the Israeli army’s control over all entry points, imports and fishing territory, and need permits from Israel to leave the strip to travel to other parts of Palestinian territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The IDF regularly imposes such closures during holidays and festivals in Israel. It started during the First Intifada and was later said to be a measure to prevent terror attacks.
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