Doctor Mads Gilbert. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix
A Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, has been hit with a lifetime ban from entering Gaza by the Israeli government.
Israeli authorities cited security reasons for shutting Doctor 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 northern Norway, was back working at Shifa hospital, Gaza, where he spend more than 50 days treating 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 that Gilbert is banned for security reasons, 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 in which he spoke about the extreme conditions at the Gaza hospital where he worked.
Who is doctor Mads Gilbert?
- Born in Oslo, 1947.
- Head physician specializing in anesthesiology at University Hospital of North Norway.
- Over 30 years working in international conflict areas, especially Gaza.
- Awards include Fritt Ords Honorary Prize (2009).
- Appointed Commander to the Order of St Olaf (2013).
- Received PhD at University of Iowa.