The leader of Gaza's Hamas militant group says the outcome of the Israeli election won't impact Palestinians.

Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that Israel's April 9 vote was an internal "Zionist affair."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is locked in a heated race for re-election against a party of former army chiefs, which has criticized him for his failure to deter Gaza rockets. Otherwise, Israel's long-running conflict with the Palestinians has been strikingly absent from political debate.

Haniyeh added that differences between Israeli political parties are "very marginal" when it comes to policy toward Palestinians.

Since March 2018, Hamas has orchestrated weekly border protests against an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Egypt brokered an unofficial deal last week to pacify the frontier ahead of elections in exchange for efforts to mitigate Gaza's acute economic crisis.