Norwegian Doctor in Gaza Returns to Hero’s Welcome in Norway

After more than two weeks in Gaza, Mads Gilbert has arrived in Norway. A large crowd welcomed the doctor at Oslo Airport.

In 15 days Gilbert worked with Palestinian medical personnel to save lives of hundreds of civilians and help the injured during the Israeli offense on Gaza Strip. Gilbert described the situation in Gaza as extreme and brutal.

Talking to Norwegian state television NRK, Gilbert said Shifa hospital in Gaza is crowded. There is an extreme situation. 

– We talked to the hospital just before we landed and they have not evacuated the patients. The situation is very serious. People die due to lack of treatment, he said.

Also in 2009 assault, Gilbert worked in Gaza. He described the current situation more bloody.

– Israel is more ruthless now. The bombs systematically hit residential areas. They kill whole families and bomb hospitals. 20 percent of hospital capacity in the Gaza has been destroyed by Israeli military forces. They attack ambulances and patients are killed while they are in hospital. It is much more ruthless, more cynical and more bloody, says Gilbert.

Gilbert also suggested that the situation is not Israel against Hamas. It is the Palestinian people in Gaza on a broad front. Nurses and doctors, there is no one there who want to give up. No matter who they support politically this is an elementary people’s war against an occupying force, said he.

About Mads Gilbert

Mads Fredrik Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor and activist. He received his PhD at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He is a specialist in anesthesiology and a leader of the emergency medicine department of University Hospital of North Norway, and has been adjunct professor (professor II) of emergency medicine at the University of Tromsø since 1995.

Gilbert has broad range international experiences, in particular from locations that merge medical and political issues. He has done volunteer work at a kibbutz. Later he became actively involved with solidarity work concerning Palestinians since the 1970s, he has served as a doctor during numerous periods in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. His efforts have been central to the efforts that have led the city of Tromsø, since 2001 a twin town of Gaza, to claim to be the city that has sent more health workers to the Palestinian territories than any other in the world.

Following a grenade strike to a Gaza City vegetable market on January 3, Gilbert sent an SMS text to his Norwegian and international contacts, with an appeal for all who read it to pass it on.

“From doctor Mads Gilbert in Gaza: Thanks for your support. They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza city two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed. All came here to Shifa. Hades! We wade in death, blood and amputees. Many children. Pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything this horrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We’re living in the history books now, all of us!”

Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse have written a book called Eyes in Gaza, which is an account of their time in Gaza. In 2009 he received the Fritt Ord Honorary Award together with Erik Fosse.

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