Norway’s doctor of peace for Gaza, Mads Gilbert, has been hit by a lifetime ban from entering the region by the Israeli government on Thursday. Israeli authorities cited security reasons as to why they have shut Gilbert out from the Gaza Strip.
The Norwegian 67-year-old has travelled to and from Gaza to treat Palestinians. This summer, the chief physician who lives and works in North Norway, was back working at Al Shifa hospital, Gaza, where he treated over 50 days many of the 11,000 injured.
The doctor was attempting to return to the region in October to help in the hospital and was stopped by Israeli officials from entering.
Gilbert says: “When we came back to the Erez border station, the Israeli soldiers told me that I could not go in to Gaza.”
Now the Israeli government is stating it is for security reasons that Gilbert is banned, according to an email from the Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv. The embassy took up the case on Gilbert’s behalf after he was refused entry last month.
Norway’s Secretary of State, Bård Glad Pedersen, said to VG: “From the Norwegian perspective, we have raised Gilbert’s exclusion from Gaza and asked Israel to change their decision. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is still difficult and there is a need for all health workers.”
Gilbert himself believes the decision is connected to his critical comments against the state of Israel. The outspoken peace activist wrote a letter to the global media in July this year, evoking the extreme conditions at the Gaza hospital he worked in. THE LOCAL