The Israeli military has admitted harvesting organs from dead Palestinians after an interview conducted over the issue in 2000 was broadcast again.
Over the weekend, Israel’s Channel 2 TV broadcast an interview conducted in 2000 with the then-head of Israel’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss who revealed that forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinian corpses in the 1990s, the Associated Press reported.
“We started to harvest corneas … Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family,” said the doctor.
According to the report, the forensic specialists harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without seeking permission from relatives.
Hiss also described how his doctors would cover up the removal of corneas from bodies.
“We’d glue the eyelid shut,” he said, adding that “We wouldn’t take corneas from families we knew would open the eyelids.”
In response to the broadcast, the Israeli military confirmed the report in a statement but said, “This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer.”
The report was released after an article by Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom, accusing Israel of killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs, caused a huge controversy.
The article, entitled They plunder the organs of our sons, published by the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, sparked outrage among Israeli officials, who called it “groundless,” “outrageous” and “anti-Semitic.”
Bostrom, however, said the purpose of his opinion article was to call for an investigation into numerous claims in the 1990s that such activity was going on.