GOD Promised Me Your Land, Your Corneas, and Your Bones
The cat is finally out of the bag and now Israel has admitted to harvesting Palestinian organs…when Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper featured an opinion piece by freelance journalist Donald Bostrom about the same subject four months earlier, the Israelis went ballistic and reached into their “name-calling” drawers and surprise…surprise, they called Sweden anti-sematic. The story reports that in the 90s, the Israeli hospitals used Palestinians among others as essentially body parts for their fallen soldiers.
The harvesting issue came to light again when an interview with the former head of Israel’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss was made public. While the reporting is new, the interview itself was recorded in 2000 by an American scholar, who released it because of a big controversy that came to light last August over the allegation by the Swedish newspaper that accused Israel of killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel aggressively denied the charge. While the Israeli might have not in purpose killed Palestinians for the sake of harvesting their body organs, the Israeli army and settlers however seldom need a reason to kill a Palestinian. In the broadcasted interview, Hiss can be heard saying, “We started to harvest corneas … Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.”
The report on Channel 2 reported that in the 90s, forensic specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of fallen Palestinians, foreign workers and Israeli citizens. In the same interview, Hiss described how his medical team would cover their track in the events of a 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.”
Those frightening accounts make think of Israeli hospitals less of a place for treatment and more of a butcher shop. I know many Palestinians have benefited from medical care in Israeli hospitals including close relatives of mine. But this creepy report makes me question the ethics of those Israeli doctors who found no wrong in harvesting the body organs of Palestinians to batch up Israeli soldiers and not have the common courtesy of contacting the relatives.
This is not a verdict on the virtue of organ donors, there are many Palestinians who gladly donate organs to save lives—look up the story of Ahmad El-Khateeb, the Palestinian boy from Jenin refugee camp who was assassinated in November 2005 by the Israeli military for playing with a toy gun; his family willingly donated his organs to save the lives of five Israeli children who needed organs that Ahmad’s little dead body provided. The difference of course is choice! While Ahmad’s family had no choice in the death of their son, they did have a choice to save other lives. I find myself echo what Knesset Member Ahmad Tebi said about this matter “If such is what they are willing to admit, imagine how much they are concealing,”