Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor specialized in anesthesiology and emergency medicine, has revealed a number of crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against the Gaza Strip during its four wars against the coastal enclave.
Gilbert, 69, said during an interview with Anadolu News Agency that he pledged to help the needy and weak, and therefore decided to travel from one country to another to support the Palestinians, asserting that he was with the Palestinians in Beirut during the Israeli invasion in 1982 and was with them in Gaza during the years of 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014.
The Norwegian doctor gave his testimony to what he witnessed, noting that Israel “does not change. They besiege Gaza now as they did besiege Beirut 34 years ago and prevented basic life needs from entering the city, before they started the bombings and assassinations.”
Bombing of Hospitals and Ambulances
Gilbert still remembers some details that media outlets did not speak about during the Gaza wars. He stressed that he saw how the Israeli occupation forces targeted hospitals, ambulances, killing doctors and medics, in an attempt to spread fear among the people so that they would stop defending their rights.
These attacks were intentional, he asserted. The Norwegian doctor can’t find a justification for why Israel targeted 47 ambulances during the 2014 Gaza war, noting, “Israelis know that what they are doing violates international laws and conventions, but they enjoy impunity and they always escape punishment.” This pushed Israel to bar him from entering Gaza under “security claims,” he underlined.
He feels strange that Israel justifies the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza because of weapons Hamas stores among civilians. According to him, this is “A stupid and a false claim. Weapons were not at schools targeted by Israel. Nor were they at hospitals and mosques, nor were they at thousands of houses destroyed on the head of their inhabitants.”
He believes that if the Israeli army wanted to kill fighters, it would have opened the borders and allowed civilians to leave, but the truth is that Israel and its US ally see in Gaza a fertile land to test new weapons to be sold to the world.
Harvesting Innocent Lives
Gilbert, who worked at Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 war on Gaza, feels sorry for the situation at Gaza’s hospitals. According to him, “The situation in Gaza’s hospitals after 10 years of siege and starvation can’t be imagined. They do not have basic surgery tools nor basic medicines, it is a humanitarian disaster that should end soon.”
In addition to his media talk about Gaza, he published a book about the last Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, in which he says Israel is harvesting the lives that doctors in Gaza work to save. “That’s why I published a book titled A Night in Gaza, in which I document the Israeli crimes during the 2014 war minute by minute and by providing photo illustrations.”
Dr. Gilbert, who has been an ardent supporter of Palestine since the 70s of the last century, continues, “After Israel doubled the weight of bombs used against Gaza five times in 2014 compared to 2009, meaning 502 tons of explosives, I can’t forget Palestinians arriving to hospitals headless, torn into pieces, and suffering from burns in the head, face and all over their bodies.”
Documenting this war was not limited to this book, he says. “I also mentioned that in my report which I wrote for the United Nations, in which I documented the impact of the devastating siege and the lack of adequate living conditions, and what Gaza has turned into due to the successive Israeli wars.”
Story of Steadfastness
“Despite Israel’s destruction of infrastructure, such as the power plant, and water tanks and buildings, during its 51-day offensive,” He said, “What draws most of the attention is the resoluteness and solidarity of the Palestinians, where the entire people serves as one family to save the lives and to heal the wounds, therefore I am committed to answering the call of duty of Palestine at any time. This is a life commitment,” he underscored.
Gilbert is celebrated in many places for his efforts to save the Palestinians and for being next to them at crucial times. He, however, does not see himself a hero, stressing, “The real heroes are the steadfast people of Gaza, who make life from nothing.”
He continues with pride, “The most I wanted to tell the world about is the heroism of these people in the face of Israeli war machines and their persistence to continue living in a place that is diminishing due to siege and wars. The real heroes are the children, women, men, doctors, medics, nurses and even the wounded people of Gaza.”
The Norwegian doctor, who heads the surgery department at University Hospital of North Norway, asks: “Where are the international laws and conventions? Why doesn’t the world move to bring Israel to account for bombing and destroying 70 hospitals in Gaza, meaning half of Gaza’s hospitals?”
“What would the reaction of the world be if it were Palestinians who did what Israel did in 2014 in Gaza,” referring to Israel’s killing of 21 doctors, 556 children, and targeting 47 ambulances.
He condemned the double-standard policy of the international community, adding, “Israel killed 2,200 people, 556 of them were children, and 200 of them were women, and it still continues to enjoy the support of the United States and the international community.”
He added, “Israel gravely violates the international law…Did the big powers give Israel the right to occupy Palestinian land? Why do these countries deprive Palestinians of the right to defend their lands in the face of Israeli occupation? Washington supports the Israeli oppression against the Palestinians and covers the crimes of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank, and totally ignores the right of 9 million Palestinian refugees to return to their home in Palestine.”
Gilbert called for a greater Arab support for Palestinians, “Arabs are watching the clear American double-standard policy, e.g, Washington supports the Ukraine, for political reasons since the conflict there is with Russia, while it supports Israel despite being oppressive. Washington puts its economic, political, military, and weaponry interests above human and legal interests, which is enough to trigger the Arab anger in my opinion.”
He also criticized what he called “The European and the past colonial powers’ silence toward the Israeli crimes. Those who believe the Europeans did anything to stop the crimes of the successive Israeli governments are deceived.”
He hopes that two million people in Gaza will be given the right to life, as well as innocents in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. “All people with good hearts should support those displaced and miserable. It is our responsibility that binds us to protect what remains of humanity in this world.”
“History will disown us if we abandon our principles and our support for just causes. It is a shame and inhumane that responsible countries abandon their responsibilities and humanity for the sake of their own interests.”
The Norwegian doctor concluded by saying “If the world would stop surfing Facebook and Twitter and instead wake up to serve justice, freedom and humanity as the Tunisians did at the beginning with other Arab states (referring to Arab revolutions), the face of the world would remarkably change (to the better).”