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Israeli Authorities Admit to Organ HarvestingDr. Hatem Bazian Special to Salem-News.com
AMP renews call for investigation.
(PALOS HILLS, Ore.) - The former head of the Israeli Ministry of Health was to have testified before the Knesset today to answer questions that arose after an Israeli pathologist admitted he harvested organs from Palestinians and others without family consent.
In an interview made public last weekend on Israeli Channel 2, pathologist Dr. Yehuda Hiss admitted he harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of dead Palestinians, Israeli soldiers and foreign workers without permission in the 1990s.
“We felt free,” to harvest organs, Hiss said. “Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the families.”
When doctors feared their actions would be discovered they would cover up the evidence, oftentimes gluing shut eyes to hide missing corneas, for instance, Hiss said.
This new development comes several months after the Swedish newspaper the Aftonbladet published an article by Donald Bostrom, which brought the issue to light. Bostrom's article said the IDF took organs from young Palestinian men in their custody and then buried the bodies in the dead of night.
The article created major controversy and chilled relations between Sweden and Israel. It was this controversy that prompted anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes to release the interview she made with Hiss in 2000 to Israeli Channel 2, according to published reports. Scheper-Hughes is the founder of Organ Watch, a nonprofit organization that tracks illegal organ trafficking around the world.
Scheper-Hughes said she was struck by Hiss' admissions. “The symbolism of taking skin out of a population that is considered to be the enemy and using it for skin for the military, that's something that – just in terms of symbolic weight – has to be reconsidered,” she told Channel 2. Bostrom's article was published shortly after U.S. federal agents arrested Levy Izhak Rosenbaum and charged him with illegally trying to sell a kidney from Israel to an American recipient. Rosebaum's case is pending in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
In August, the American Muslims for Palestine first called upon the U.S. State Department and the media to conduct an investigation into the questions raised by Bostrom's article. Today, AMP is renewing that call.
“The standards for organ donation are very clear and it is obvious some Israeli pathologists exhibited a total disregard for the rights of Palestinians and others,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman and professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “AMP is renewing its call for an investigation into Israel's illegal organ harvesting.”
While illegal organ harvesting is deplorable, it is just one of the many human rights abuses Israel heaps upon occupied Palestinians every day. AMP calls upon the world community to hold Israel accountable for all its violations of international law. And we call upon the world community to pressure Israel to lift the siege on Gaza, to cease all settlement construction and to end the occupation.
Source: American Muslims for Palestine
Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP chairman and professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California.
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