A Norwegian doctor who has been critical of Israel has been banned from entering the Gaza Strip for life, with Israeli officials citing security reasons, Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper reported Friday.
Dr. Mads Gilbert has been treating patients at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital for 30 years, VG reported, but on his most recent trip in October, Israeli soldiers at the Erez Crossing told him he could not enter.
Gilbert has called the decision “provocative, unreasonable and totally unacceptable.” The Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv said it was told the doctor was being prohibited from entering the Palestinian territory for “security reasons,” with no further justification given.
The Norwegian doctor himself believes the decision is punishment for his comments against Israel during the 50-day summer war in Gaza.
“I have never done anything wrong in Israel. I have never broken any Israeli laws or safety regulations,” he told VG. “This is not about me. It’s about the Palestinian population now being punished for my political views.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment, referring the newspaper to COGAT (The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), which said it would look into the issue.
Gilbert was one of the authors of a letter published in the prominent medical journal Lancet during the recent Gaza conflict, which accused Israel of massacring Palestinians and overwhelmingly targeting women and children. The British journal’s editor Prof. Richard Horton later said — following a trip to Israel — that he regretted the letter and that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”
In a 2001 interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Gilbert stated that 9/11 occurred because of Western foreign policy and that he supported terror attacks within the framework of that “context,” claiming that “the suppressed have a moral right to attack the United States.”