Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Palestinian Authority Arabs arrive to cross into Gaza at the Erez Crossing, September 2015.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is scolding Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization for closing its border with Israel.

Hamas — not Israel — closed the main Erez Crossing after a senior commander, 38-year-old Mazen Faqha, was assassinated in the territory last week. Faqha, a convicted murderer serving nine life sentences released by Israel in a prisoner exchange in 2011, was killed with a gun equipped with a silencer and the assassins remain at large. Hamas has blamed on Israel for his death.

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According to the IDF Coordinator of Governor Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Kerem Shalom land crossing from Israel into Gaza, used for the passage of food and dry goods, is operating normally.

In a rage, Hamas blockaded the territory and barred some 4,000 local fishermen from plying their trade at sea. No residents have been allowed to leave the enclave, nor were any foreign workers who were in the territory at the time of the killing. The Hamas Interior Ministry clamped a gag order on publication of details from the investigation into the murder.

However, the UN agency accused Hamas of self-sabotage in closing the border, saying the move “negatively impacts already vulnerable sectors” in the region.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) of the Palestinian Authority also called on Hamas to reopen the border as well, but the terrorist group ignored both agencies and is continuing to refuse to reopen the crossing for the time being.

The World Health Organization told the Associated Press on Thursday that 79 patients have been forced to miss hard-to-get medical appointments in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in some cases exacerbating life-threatening health conditions. Such patients will have to reapply for new travel entry permits in order to go to future appointments, assuming Hamas allows them to leave the enclave.

Employees of international humanitarian aid organizations and other consultants were also unable to work on their development projects in Gaza, further jeopardizing the rehabilitation of the territory.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.