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Occupied Territories: entry denied

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 18 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1225
  1. Ben Alofs (, general practitioner
  1. Bangor

    Last week I left home to work for six weeks as a medical volunteer for the Palestine Red Crescent Society in the Occupied Territories. I have worked before in Palestinian (refugee) communities, both in the Occupied Territories and in Lebanon. So has my wife, Dr Pauline Cutting, who was awarded an OBE for her humanitarian work in the Palestinian refugee camps. I am a primary care doctor, but I am also an advanced trauma life support provider and I have treated war injuries on numerous occasions.

    I was handed over to the police and placed in a shabby holding unit at the airport

    On 6 May at 3.50 am I arrived on Lufthansa flight LH0690 at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. Getting through passport control and security has always been an awkward process, but I have never before been barred from entering.

    This time things were different. After passport control came the security people with their barrage of questions. I stated my intentions truthfully: that I had come to work …

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