Palestinians opened the offices earlier in September to register East Jerusalem voters for a future Palestinian general election, a step towards meeting international and domestic demands for Palestinian reform.

   

But Israeli police said they closed the offices on Monday, accusing Palestinians of "illegal polling activities".

   

"The Israeli decision constitutes a flagrant violation to all signed agreements and international law," Quraya said on Tuesday in a statement issued in the West Bank city of Ram Allah.

 

"This decision shows Israel's pursuit of its policy to Judaise (Arab East) Jerusalem and strip its people of their rights," he said in reference to the part of the city Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

 

Determination

   

"The Israeli decision constitutes a flagrant violation to all signed agreements and international law"

Ahmad Quraya,
prime minister, Palestinian Authority

Quraya said the Palestinian Authority was determined to carry out plans to register voters in "all Palestinian territories that Israel occupied in 1967 starting with holy Jerusalem".

   

Israel considers all of Jerusalem, including the Arab eastern sector, as its capital and objects to Palestinian electioneering there. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they seek in Israeli-occupied territories.

   

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after capturing it, a move not recognised internationally.

   

Palestinians living in Jerusalem were permitted to take part in the first Palestinian presidential and legislative elections in 1996, held under interim peace deals with Israel.

   

Palestinian officials said Israel's refusal this time to allow Palestinians to register to vote showed it was bent on cementing its grip on the Arab east of the city.

   

Palestinians have set up about 1000 registration centres across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem for presidential and legislative elections that are nearly four years overdue. No date has been set for the elections.