Israel Bans Norwegian Doctor From Gaza for Life, Report Says

Mads Gilbert, known for being severely critical of Israel, is shut out of Hamas-run enclave for 'security reasons,' The Local's Norway edition says.

Norwegian doctors Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, July 31, 2014.
Norwegian doctors Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, July 31, 2014. Alex Levac

Israel has reportedly imposed a life ban on doctor and activist Mads Gilbert from entering the Gaza Strip.

According to The Local news website's Norway edition, the Israeli government cited security reasons for banning Gilbert from the Hamas-run enclave.

Gilbert, a leading Norwegian physician known for being severely critical of Israel, worked as a doctor at Shifa Medical Center during the recent war between Israel and militants in the Strip. He also worked there during the previous round of Israel-Gaza fighting, in 2008-2009.

According to the report, Gilbert was stopped en route to the Gaza Strip, where he was planning to return to the hospital, by Israeli officials last month. The Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv reportedly took up the incident with the Israeli government, who stated that the physician has been banned from Gaza for security reasons.

Norway's secretary of state, Bard Glad Pedersen, was quoted by The Local as telling Verdens Gang newspaper: “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.”

During the recent war, Gilbert accused Israel of committing "state terrorism at a very sophisticated and very high level,” and said its army was "using a wide variety of sophisticated modern weapons against a basically naked civilian population,” according to The Electronic Intifada website.

He also joined two anti-Semitic authors in writing a harshly anti-Israel "open letter for the people of Gaza" that was published by the leading British medical journal The Lancet in August, and was quoted by The Telegraph as telling Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet in 2001 that the September 11 attacks in the United States were a result of Western foreign policy, and that he supported terror attacks in that “context.”