It’s a great pity that the Israeli authorities have banned Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor and the co-author of Eyes in Gaza (published by Quartet Books), from entering Gaza.
They cite ‘security reasons’ for shutting him off from the Gaza Strip.
The sixty-seven-year-old Norwegian has travelled to and from Gaza to treat Palestinians who are short of medical care due to the high casualties they suffered during the Israeli bombardment.
Gilbert says, ‘When we came back to the Erez border station, the Israeli soldiers told me that I could not go into Gaza.’
The Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv who took up the case on Gilbert’s behalf after he was refused entry last month, was told that Dr Gilbert was banned for security reasons.
Norway’s secretary of state, Bård Glad Pedersen, said: ‘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 in the Gaza hospital where he worked,
Israel, in this particular case, should feel great responsibility, to say the least, for the carnage – whatever the circumstances – and show the world that humanitarian issues are sacrosanct and put their emotions to one side.
Peace in the long term is the only answer, and both sides in the conflict should wake up to the fact that nothing is gained today through the use of the gun.
I pray that in my lifetime I will see the Holy Land once again in a state of eternal harmony among all its citizens. That’s my dream, which I hope will be fulfilled.