Palestinian British doctor who was going to the Senate to speak about the war is denied entry to France

Palestinian British doctor who was going to the Senate to speak about the war is denied entry to France
Palestinian British doctor who was going to the Senate to speak about the war is denied entry to France

PARIS (AP) — A renowned Palestinian-British surgeon who volunteered in hospitals in the Gaza Strip said he had been denied entry into France on Saturday to participate in a French Senate meeting on the war between Israel and Hamas.

Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta was placed in a holding area at Charles de Gaulle Airport and will be expelled, according to French Senator Raymonde Poncet Monge, who had invited him to speak in the Senate.

“It’s a shame,” he published in X.

A French official said Abu Sitta could not enter France because he is prohibited from entering all countries in the Schengen zone at a request from Germany. The official, who is not authorized to be publicly identified in accordance with government policy, did not provide further details or information.

Abu Sitta posted on social media that he had been denied entry to France because Germany had banned him from entering Europe for a year. Germany denied him entry last month, and France and Germany are part of Europe’s border-free Schengen area. He noted on Saturday that he would be sent back to London.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as the local police and the Paris airport authority did not comment on the matter or provide explanations.

Abu Sitta had been invited by the left-wing French group Ecologists to speak about the situation in the Gaza Strip at a forum in the French Senate on Saturday, according to the Senate’s press service. The event included testimonies from doctors, journalists and international legal experts with experience in Gaza.

Abu Sitta was denied entry to Germany last month to participate in a pro-Palestinian conference. He was stopped at passport control, where he was held for several hours and then told that he had to return to the UK. He claimed that airport police told him they were denying him entry for “the safety of conference attendees and public order.”

Abu Sitta, who recently worked as a Doctors Without Borders volunteer in Gaza, has worked during multiple conflicts in the Palestinian territories since the late 1980s, during the first Palestinian uprising. He has also worked in other conflict zones, such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In France, tensions related to the conflict in the Middle East have occurred almost daily since the Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7. In recent days and weeks, police have evicted students from French universities who were holding demonstrations and sit-ins similar to those that have occurred in the United States.

 
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