The Israeli occupation authorities barred the outspoken Norwegian doctor and activist Mads Gilbert, who treated casualties of the latest Israeli offensive on Gaza, from entering the Strip “indefinitely,” under the security pretext.
Gilbert told al-Jazeera TV on Friday that he was turned away from the Erez border crossing when attempting to return to Gaza in October, despite having all the legitimate paper work.
“To my surprise I was denied access by the Israeli military,” he said. “When I asked the reason they informed me that it was a security issue.”
The 67-year-old, who has joined solidarity campaigns with Palestinians and volunteered at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, has been a vociferous anti-Israeli occupation activist.
The Norwegian government said it will take all necessary measures to call off the ban.
Denouncing his entry ban as a limitation of freedom of expression, Gilbert said in a statement quoted by al-Jazeera, it appeared the Israeli government “doesn’t want the effects of their continuous attacks on the civilian population in Gaza to be known to the world.”
“Telling the world about the burdens of the Palestinians in Gaza is considered a security risk,” he said, adding that in a larger perspective, the ban was not about him, but about the Gazans’ right to international assistance, the same source further quoted Gilbert as reporting.
In a related development, the European foreign ministers are set to convene Monday on the current state of affairs in the Gaza Strip.
The newly-appointed EU foreign affairs chief Frederica Mogherini, set to chair the meeting, is expected to brief the ministers on her latest trip to the Middle East and reiterate appeals to stop Israel’s illegal settlement expansion and to allow access of rebuilding materials into the Gaza Strip.