Israel Grants Ai Weiwei Entry Permit Into Gaza

The Chinese dissident artist can now continue with his documentary on refugees around the world.

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, center, filming a documentary on refugees at Gaza's Rafah crossing with Egypt, May 11, 2016.
AP / Khalil Hamra

Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei has received a permit to enter the Gaza Strip from Israel to film part of his documentary on the global refugee problem.

The army had not immediately let Ai into the enclave, but on Wednesday the spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the production company working with Ai had now submitted an entry request.

Ai arrived in Israel unannounced Sunday and was refused a permit to enter Gaza, where he had planned to film as early as Tuesday.

Ai, a winner of a raft of awards in the West for both art and human rights efforts, has criticized the Chinese government for being slow to embrace democracy. In 2011 he spent nearly three months in prison.