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Israel has banned Mads Gilbert from Gaza for life

Translated Sunday 23 November 2014, by Guy Langloy

Dr. Mads Gilbert, an urgent care physician, is banned for life from the Gaza strip by the Israeli government. Considered a hero in Norway and by Palestinians, Dr. Mads Gilbert will not be allowed to save lives as he did at the Al-Shira hospital during this last summer’s bombings. Israeli authorities declared him persona non grata for life.

Al Jazeera announced that the physician was stopped at a border post as he tried to return to Gaza on October 1st. « To my surprise, the Israeli army denied me entry » he said. « When I asked for what reason, I was told it was a question of national security. » When asked for details, he was ordered to leave or be detained by the police.

Invited by Palestinian authorities, (with the support of his hospital in Norway) he was to study the impact of the bombing on the population.
Mads Gilbert, age 67, Norwegian physician and activist, had for decades volunteered his work at the Al-Shira hospital in Gaza during three Israeli wars. A vocal critic, he has condemned military actions and the occupation of the Palestinian territory.

The Norwegian Embassy is demanding explanations.

« We have asked Israel to reverse its decision because the humanitarian situation in Gaza is critical and there is dire need of medical assistance. » said a note from the Embassy. As for Dr. Mads Gilbert, he is not giving up. « The Israeli government does not want the effects of its bombing on the civilian population to be known. To tell the world the miseries suffered by the Palestinian people is a security risk for Israel. » he said to Al Jazeera. He added that in a wider perspective, « the ban was not just against him but also impacted the people of Gaza’s right to international aid. Israeli authorities are not in a position to deny the Palestinian population the right to receive support from the international community. It is impossible for us to accept this situation just because the Israeli government said so. I will continue to go to Gaza as long as medical help is needed. » he added.

Dr. Gilbert vowed to continue to fight and called for political pressure to demand that Israel lift the ban « without a time limit » on Gaza.

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