Monday, December 21, 2009
This is disturbing. Israel admitted that in the 1990s, its pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without permission of their families.
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 an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge.
Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 TV over the weekend. In it, Hiss said, “We started to harvest corneas … Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.”
The Channel 2 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 mask 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.”
Hiss became director of the institute in 1988. 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. Hiss said he believed that was done with family consent. The harvesting ended in 2000, he said.
Complaints against the institute, where autopsies of dead bodies are performed, at the time of Hiss’ dismissal came from relatives of Israeli soldiers and civilians as well as Palestinians. The bodies belonged to people who died from various causes, including diseases, accidents and Israeli-Palestinian violence, but there has been no evidence to back up the claim in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians for their organs. Angry Israeli officials called the report “anti-Semitic.”
So the Israelis are no better than the Communist Chinese? Noted.