Norwegian Doc Vows to Defy Israeli Ban From Gaza

Citing security reasons, Israel prevented entry into Gaza last month of Mads Gilbert, an outspoken critic who treated Palestinians during the summer war.

Alex Levac

A Norwegian doctor plans to defy an indefinite ban to enter Gaza that Israel recently placed on him, Euronews reported Sunday.

Anti-occupation activist Mads Gilbert, who has been treating Palestinians in Gaza for 15 years, was last in the territory during Israel's summer offensive, known as Operation Protective Edge. Israel subsequently banned him from Gaza, citing security reasons, and refused him entry in October, according to various reports by European news outlets.

The Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv announced that it would challenge the ban, Euronews reported.

Norway's secretary of state, Bard Glad Pedersen, was quoted by The Local news website's Norway edition 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.”

Gilbert penned a protest letter in the medical journal The Lancet in the name of 24 physicians in July. "On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel," the signatories declared.

He also treated Palestinians in Gaza during the 2008-09 war between Israel and Hamas, also known as Operation Cast Lead.