Organ Theft: Method in Madness

The plot thickens. The former head of Israel’s forensic institute, Dr Yehuda Hiss, has admitted the charge of organ theft from Palestinians among others.



The confession of this heinous crime carried out in the 1990s follows a disclosure in a Swedish newspaper. It led to diplomatic tensions between Sweden and Israel, with the Swedish government refusing on the demands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the report as anti Semitic.

The Israeli government has since vehemently denied organ trafficking and has played its usual victim card. This flagrant display of hypocrisy amid corroboration by Israeli news agencies is mindboggling. Apparently, as disclosed by Dr. Hiss, “harvesting” of skin, corneas, heart valves and bones was carried out “informally”—without permission from the victim’s family—from the bodies of whoever these “doctors” could lay their hands on. While bodies of Israeli citizens and soldiers and foreign workers were also used for organ extraction, the more shocking aspect is how Palestinians were ruthlessly abused in life—and in death. According to the Swedish report, young Palestinian men were seized by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza, only to be sent back as corpses with missing organs.

It seems transplant of organs is the mainstay of the Israeli healthcare industry. A report on the Al Jazeera website notes that the then health minister, Ehud Olmert, had asked Israelis to donate organs to meet the shortage in the early 1990’s. If maintaining a steady supply of prized human organs was the objective behind the illegal means of procurement, Dr. Hiss was obviously serving the state well. But to allow such a practice that violates all human and medical mores of conduct speaks volumes for the Israeli establishment and society. How long is Tel Aviv going to cry “blood libel” and make anti-Semitic charges, especially since documented evidence from its own serving officials — be they medical practitioners, armed officers or politicians — tells a different story? Same was the case during the last Gaza offensive when Israeli officers and soldiers gave incontrovertible evidence of going on a killing spree in the besieged Strip. What happened after CNN showed images of Palestinian civilians with burns that kept smoking as a result of white phosphorous shells used by the Israeli army? Did the government and top military officers apologise? Was there even an attempt at redemption by removing the blockade of Gaza and freezing settlements?

It is ironic and unfortunate that respect of international law and human rights takes a back seat where Israel is concerned. It is about time the world powers took Tel Aviv to task. Otherwise, their share of Israel’s crimes will only get bigger.


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