Al Jazeera reports: When called to return to Gaza to help out in al-Shifa hospital, doctor Mads Gilbert was denied access with valid papers.
Gilbert told Al Jazeera that he was turned away at the Erez border crossing after Israeli authorities deemed him a “security risk”. After asking for an explanation, Gilbert was threatened with arrest.
Al Jazeera spoke with Gilbert about these events and what is happening beyond the checkpoint.
Al Jazeera: Did you just get a note from the Israelis saying you are no longer allowed to come back?
Mads Gilbert: No, actually, I had been in Gaza in June for three weeks on an assignment for the UN and they had applied for a multiple entry visa for me, which I got from the Israeli army. It was a multiple entry visa valid until the 11th of November. So I went in on that to do the job for the UN, stayed for three weeks, wrote up the report and went home to Tromso in Norway to pick up my call in the helicopter.
It is a week-long call. While I was on call in my helicopter, the bombing started. I went back to Amman over the Allenby Bridge to Erez. I showed my papers in the guard house, and he called up and he said ‘you are not allowed in’. I told him that my papers are valid and he said ‘no, we have a security problem with you and I can’t tell you what’.
So I called the commander at Erez and he was very cross and he said ‘we have orders from the higher authority of security and we have a security problem with you’, so I asked if they can tell me what the problem is and he said, ‘it’s none of your business and if you don’t leave the premises we will call the police, I will arrest you’.
So I called my ambassador and I called Tel Aviv. My diplomatic missions there and my minister of foreign affairs called them and they said ‘there is no way he is getting in’.
So I returned to Norway and the Norwegian authorities, my minister for foreign affairs, formally inquired and asked why and they only get the response that there is a security issue from Shin Bet Mossad.
Interestingly, the minister for foreign affairs has been protesting this denial of entry formally; they do not accept it. They have asked Israelis to reverse this denial, citing that it is inconceivable and unacceptable that humanitarian staff should not be allowed in to support Palestinians in a difficult situation on the medical side.
AJ: What do you think the reason is for them not letting you in?
MG: I think the truth is the security risk because when I, as a white medical doctor with blue eyes and white hair, tell the real story of the realities in the sharp end of the Israeli attacks, the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans, the numbers change from being numbers to being people, and the children appear as yours and my children. [Continue reading…]