Israel admits to stealing organs of Palestinians

Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, it harvested organs from dead bodies of Palestinians without permission of their families.

Israel admits to stealing organs of Palestinians

Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without permission of their families.

Israel had denied an August article published in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet accusing the Israeli army of illegally harvesting the organs of Palestinians.

The issue emerged with publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss.

The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over a report by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 TV over the weekend.

A mass-selling Swedish newspaper reported that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of Palestinians after abducting them from the West Bank and Gaza.

The Aftonbladet report said that Israeli soldiers detained young men, then returned their bodies with organs missing.

In it, Hiss said, "We started to harvest corneas ... Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family."

The report said that in the 1990s, forensic specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

In the interview, Hiss described how his doctors would hide the removal of corneas from bodies. "We'd glue the eyelid shut," he said. "We wouldn't take corneas from families we knew would open the eyelids."

He said in the interview that the practice of harvesting organs without permission began in the "early 1990s."

However, he also said that military surgeons removed a thin layer of skin from bodies as early as 1987 to treat burn victims.

In a response to the TV report, the Israeli military confirmed that the thefts took place. "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer," the military defended itself in a statement quoted by Channel 2.

The academic, Nancy Sheppard-Hughes, a professor of anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley, said she decided to make the interview public in the wake of the Aftonbladet report.

Israel's Health Ministry insisted that all organ harvesting was "done with permission."


Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2009, 12:26
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