Israeli pathologists took body parts without permission from dead Israelis and Palestinians in the 1990s, Israeli authorities have confirmed.
The story emerged in an interview with Dr Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic who released it because of the row between Israel and Sweden over a report in the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet.
Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, 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.
The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: “This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer.”
However, there was no evidence that Israel had killed Palestinians to take their organs, as the Swedish paper reported. Aftonbladet quoted Palestinians as saying young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israeli forces and their bodies returned to their families with missing organs.
So while the truth is ugly, and deserved to come out no matter the consequences, it needs to be emphasized:
–There was no sinister plot aimed specifically at Israeli Arabs or Palestinians. Israeli Jews were also victims.
–No one was killed for the purpose of harvesting organs.
–This inexcusable practice ended a decade ago.
–An Israeli television station reported this news.
None of this will stop Israel’s enemies from trying to use this to smear and discredit the entire country.