Saturday, 29 August 2009

THE NEW “BLOOD LIBEL”? …. WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT ISRAELI ORGAN HARVESTING

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August 29, 2009 at 7:26 am (Crime, Israel, Palestine)


human_heartIsraeli Organ Harvesting

By ALISON WEIR

Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/

An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

Israel’s first heart transplant

Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent. (3) (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

He responded:

“There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?” (4)

Mysterious Scottish death

In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair’s corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

The J report states:

“A heart said to be Sinclair’s was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist’s and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either. (5,6,7)

Israeli government officials raise questions

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

“In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

“The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.” (8)

Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

“… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)

In 2002 the service reported:

“The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss.”

Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

“In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.” (10)

Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.” (11)

In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

IPS reports:

The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country’s government.”

The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, “in a legal manner, complying with international norms,” and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” that allowed the network to function. (12)

Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

IPS goes on to report:

“Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000. (13)

Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested. (14)

In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel’s leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: “His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000.” (15)

This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs. (16)

Israel’s organ donor problems

Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards. (17)

“According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.” (18, 19)

The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

“Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

Palestinian disappearances increase

Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah, (20) reports in his recent article:

“While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

“Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

“I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

“The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

“The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

Why autopsies?

Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

He goes on to write:

“We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.” (21)

The new “Blood Libel”?

In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.” (22, 23)

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled “Pasque di Sangue” (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

(Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.” ) (26)

Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

“I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth.”

Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. A version of this article containing citations and additional information is available at http://ifamericansknew/cur_sit/sweden.html

Notes.

1/ There are two English translations; this article uses the first:
http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en
http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/SwedishTrans.html

The original Swedish article in Aftonbladet can be viewed at
http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab

2/ New York Times, Feb. 3, 1969, p. 8, Column 6 (53 words)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046041.html

3/ 40 years after Israel’s first transplant, donor’s family says his heart was stolen
By Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz Correspondent, Dec. 14, 2008
http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0490/9004021.htm

4/ Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1990, Page 21, The Intifada: Autopsies and Executions
http://www.jweekly.com/

5/ October 30, 1998,Bizarre death of Scottish tourist involves suicide, missing heart
by NETTY C. GROSS, Jerusalem Post Service
http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/

6/ The Forward, Illicit Body-Part Sales Present Widespread Problem, By Rebecca Dube, Aug. 26, 2009
http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg114437.html

7/ Masons, Muslims, Templars, Jews, Henry and Dolly.
http://ccun.org/Opinion

8/ Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Khalid Amayreh, August 20, 2009

9/ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/12699

10/ http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/

11/ http://www.economist.com/

12/ The Economist, Organ transplants: The gap between supply and demand, Oct. 9, 2008

12/http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=22524
BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring
By Mario Osava, IPS, Feb. 23, 2004

13/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/935092.html
Haaretz, Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking, By Fadi Eyadat, Dec. 18, 2007

14/ http://www.jpost.com/Police uncover illegal organ trade ring

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, July 23, 2007

15/ http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/671687
Sting rocks U.S. transplant industry, David Porter, Carla K. Johnson, ASSOCIATED PRESS, july 25, 2009

16/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102799.html

U.S. Professor: I told FBI about kidney trafficking 7 years ago
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, August, 3, 2009

17/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3388529,00.html

A mitzvah called organ donation, Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg, 10.6.07

18/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3265889,00.html
Orthodox in uproar over organ donation incident, Neta Sela, 06.22.06

19/ http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Body_Snatchers.htm

The Return of the Body Snatchers, By Israel Shamir,

20/ http://www.bokus.com/b/9789170370939.html

21/ http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en

22/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/829381.html

Ha’aretz. The Wayward Son, by Adi Schwartz, March 1, 2007

23/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Ha’aaretz, Bar-Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, Feb 11, 2007

24/ http://www.bloodpassover.com/toafftableofcontents.htm

Israeli writer Israel Shamir reports that some years ago “…a leading Chabad rabbi,
Yitzhak Ginzburgh, gave his religious permission for a Jew to take a liver from a non-Jew even without his consent. He said that ‘a Jew is entitled to extract the liver from a goy if he needs it, for the life of a Jew is more valuable than the life of a goy, likewise the life of a goy is more valuable than the life of an animal.’

25/ http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Haaretz, Bar Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book, by Ofri Hani, Feb. 11, 2007.

26. http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108011.html
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2001, page 11, In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001), By Norton Mezvinsky

Source

NETANYAHU; ‘IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS’!

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August 29, 2009 at 7:07 am (Corrupt Politics, Illegal Settlements, Israel, Palestine)


Right on Bibi! You expect the world to pay for and support your crimes, but you won’t tell us what’s next. So typical!!
Netanyahu uses silence to capture his objective

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sat in front of the Israeli press for 45 minutes here on Wednesday, just a few hours after meeting US envoy George Mitchell in London and deflected with great acumen the journalists’ repeated attempts to pry out of him any real piece of information about what happened during their four-hour meeting.

Prime Minister Binyamin...

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in London, Tuesday.
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO

One journalist after the next asked the prime minister the same question, but from a slightly different angle: What was agreed upon regarding a settlements freeze?

But try as the journalists may, Netanyahu would say nothing – nothing – about the agreement that is apparently being stitched together.

Read the rest of this report HERE

Hamas warns of dividing, internationalizing the Aqsa



Hamas warns of dividing, internationalizing the Aqsa

[ 29/08/2009 - 08:47 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Hamas Movement has warned of attempts to divide the holy Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews and to internationalize the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Hamas in a statement on Friday declared absolute rejection of the American idea of turning Jerusalem into an open city for all religions, calling on the world community not to legitimize such a "serious plot".

It also refused the Israeli plan of converting the control over the Aqsa Mosque from the Jordanian endowment department to the Israeli archeology department.

Hamas asked former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas not to provide political cover for the Israeli measures against the holy city and to halt all public and covert negotiations and security coordination with the Israeli occupation authority (IOA).

It warned that the judaization schemes against Jerusalem had reached an unprecedented stage as more excavations were being carried out under the Aqsa and in its vicinity other than the confiscation of lands around the Mosque in a bid to impose Jewish presence and to bolster IOA security control.

For its part, the international Quds institution charged in a press conference on Thursday that the IOA attacks on the holy site had increased four folds compared to last year.

It said that the IOA started five new excavations under the holy site in 2009 bringing the number of excavations under and around the site to 25 while the storming operations reached 43 including one by the Israeli internal security minister, the highest ranking official figure to storm the site since its occupation in 1967.

The institution warned that dividing the holy Aqsa Mosque was only waiting for the opportune moment to impose it.

“….. WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” …. (UNLESS YOU ARE PALESTINIAN)

LINK

August 29, 2009 at 6:48 am (Activism, Corrupt Politics, Guest Post, Human Rights, Israel, Palestine)


liberty and justice

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

In this digest: We comment on the transformation of Palestine and the weakness of Palestinian leaders, describe events happening that you will hear little about (or hear distorted stories about), share videos about the Israeli targeting of civilian and about the right of resistance, and share two action items asking you to write to the Gap about their opening a store in Israel and writing to Obama to demand Israel freeze its illegal settlement activities in the occupied areas (as the 2002 road map demands)

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever well ­acquainted with what you do.”(Surah Nisaa’:135)

Israel named a new ruler on Palestinians this week. Eitan Dangot (to be promoted to Major General) will direct the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in the Israel army. He is certainly more important and more powerful than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. Nothing goes in and out of the occupied areas or moves between its cities without his approval. No construction, no economic activity, no education, no transport, and no health care are done without this overlord agreeing to it. He is in a line of Zionists managing Palestinian affairs that go back to Herbert Samuel in 1920 (who had absolute executive and legislative powers). Samuel states in his memoires that he was appointed by the British government not only with his known Zionist sympathies but largely because of these sympathies. Palestinians responded by mass resignation from government jobs, by strikes, protests, petitions, and pleas for change. But some notable elites met with him 7 July 1920 despite a call to boycott. Later he fired the principled mayor of Jerusalem Musa Kadhim Alhusaini and appointed the more compliant Ragheb Nashashibi (sounds familiar?).

According to news reports, Israel arrested several people praying at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. One of those was “a Gaza man was detained for being in the area without a permit.” (and yet Zionist propaganda still regurgitates the myth that the apartheid walls are for security!). Jimmy Carter joins the fast for Gaza. Some Palestinians spend all their waking hours planning how to defeat fellow Palestinians. Israeli papers leak the news that Obama administration is giving up on the idea of a settlement freeze in the illegally occupied areas. Settler population surpasses 500,000. Some are popping Champaign bottles celebrating the final victory of the Zionist project and the end not only of the physical Palestine but the idea of Palestine. Some of the victims as in all colonial situations get acclimatized and collaborate with their oppressors. Is this a Kafquesque/Orwellian world we live in or is that itself suggestive that a normal world can exist. Perhaps it is the way it always is: nature red in tooth and claw, a dog-eat-dog world and we do have big dogs and little dogs (and parasites that transfect dog brains making them rabid). But then again, nature indeed has everything and unlike creatures born into who they are, humans have choices to be like hyenas feeding on dead carcasses or like flowers giving nectar and beauty to earth. Sometimes the choice to be like the tapeworm or the honeybee seems to some individuals not so obvious. Bees are natural workers who live and die anonymous and unfelt as individuals while one tape worm can be prosperous, felt, and have an individual difference in its habitat. (sorry, this is the biologist in me speaking). But back to the human realm, we can also choose to be a war criminal like Peres, Kissinger, and Hitler or by a peacemaker like Desmond Tutu and Mahatma Gandhi (and anything in between). We can choose to be racist claiming Arabs or Muslims are this or that (or Jews for that matter) or we can embrace our common humanity and failings and call for coexistence and annulment of all ideologies of racism and segregation (e.g. Zionism). We do have choices. In these choices lies our true freedom and liberation as human beings. Going with the flow/fashion of “our tribe” (us vs. them) lay our enslavement. Those of us who refuse enslavement have what Mahmoud Darwish called “an incurable malady”: hope.

Video: Lest we forget: Guardian investigates Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Video: Free Gaza on the right of Resistance


Action 1: Gap set to open in Israel

Write to them at: custserv@gap.com and boycott

ACTION 2: News reports reports that U.S. dropped or is considering dropping demand on Israel to freeze settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem (International law is clear that such settlements are illegal). Write and call Obama to demand complete freeze of all settlement activities including “natural growth” and walls built on Palestinian lands (this is also demanded by the road map that we are told Israel agreed to).

Call: President Barack Obama 202-456-1111
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202.647.5291
FAX: 202-456-2461 email http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/

Turkish art for Gaza

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Mostly caricatures, a good collection of photos from various Turkish artists:


Posted by Bilal at
05:08


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US army chief: We'll always stand by Israel's side

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Senior American officials attend farewell party for Israel's military attaché Major-General Benny Gantz, who will assume IDF deputy chief post in October

WASHINGTON – The US will always stand by Israel's side, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said overnight Thursday during a farewell party for Israel's military attaché in Washington Major-General Benny Gantz, who will be retuning to Israel following his appointment as IDF deputy chief of staff.

The event, which was held at the home of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, was attended by a number of senior American officials, including Dan Shapiro, who heads the Middle East desk at the National Security Council, and Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy.

The military attachés of Egypt and Morocco were also on hand.

Mullen said the attendance of top US military officials was a sign of the strong ties between the US and Israel.

Gantz, who is scheduled to return to Israel on Thursday, will be briefed on the responsibilities of his new position by outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel on Sunday.

Gantz will officially assume the post of deputy IDF chief on October 1. He will be replaced in Washington by outgoing IDF Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3767865,00.html

PLO LIQUIDATING OF THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE?

Is the PLO playing with the Palestinian national cause?

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Posted by realistic bird under Politics Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Umayah Jiha



by Umayah Jiha



August 27, 2009, source

Despite rhetorical denials, the PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA), which Fatah constitutes the backbone of both, are moving steadily toward adopting positions that would effectively compromise inalienable Palestinian rights and might even lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.

The reported PLO propensity to “deal positively” with dubious “peace plans” that would obliterate Palestinian rights should alarm all patriotic Palestinians.

After all, the Palestinian cause is not the property of unelected politicians who think they have a carte blanch to behave as they see fit with regard to such fundamental issues as the right of return and Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, the signs and signals that keep coming from the PLO and PA quarters don’t auger well for the future. Hence, the urgent need to speak up and warn these unelected leaders against playing with fire.


First, there is the so-called Fayyad vision or plan for creating a Palestinian state with temporary borders under the Israeli occupation, a state that would very much look like a Judenrat (Jewish community council under the Nazi occupation of Europe ). How else can one honestly relate to an entity that is completely void of sovereignty, freedom and the most elementary requirements of statehood?

Fayyad, an economist-turned-politician at Washington’s urging seems to think that building a sound economic base with international support would be sufficient to transform the vision of statehood from dream to reality.

However, the man who reportedly had described himself as “George Bush’s man in Palestine” wouldn’t tell us how it is possible to build a sound economic base in a country that continues to languish under a Nazi-like military occupation which tightly controls every aspect of Palestinian life.

Well, doesn’t Mr. Fayyad realize that Palestinians can hardly travel from Ramallah, the seat of his government, to any other Palestinian town in the West Bank without an Israeli permit?

Doesn’t he realize that Israel has the ultimate and final say over the smallest transaction of money from abroad to occupied Palestine or vice versa?

Doesn’t he know that the Shin Beth, Israel’s chief domestic security agency, decides which Palestinian can travel abroad?

Finally, Fayyad ought to explain to the Palestinian people how such a fantastic entity would function in the absence of any territorial contiguity linking the various Bantustans and townships comprising the contemplated state?

Hence, one wonders how such a state, which would be laminated with big, bombastic names and a lot of trappings but with utterly no substance, serve the national interests of the Palestinian people.

In all honesty, such a state would be a huge disaster for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people. It would be proven a solution for Israel’s and Zionism’s problems, first and foremost, since it would enable Israel to claim that the Palestinian issue was finally resolved with the creation of a Palestinian state.

More to the point, Israel would be able to use this farce as an effective propaganda tool to endear itself to the Arab-Muslim world by arguing that Arabs and Muslims can’t be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves who are quite satisfied with their lot.

Furthermore, Israeli hasbara (propaganda) efforts might receive a helping hand from some Palestinian officials and spokesmen eager to defend the “new state” in the face of those who spread “doubts and rumors” about its national credentials.”

Fayyad is not only making a balloon test to find out Palestinian and international reactions to his gambit. He must be coordinating his move with PLO leadership which is constantly retreating from the erstwhile national constants that continue to enjoy an overwhelming national consensus.

True, the PLO, especially the Fatah leadership, continues to make rhetorical statements reasserting their commitment to a full Israel withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 as well as the right of some 4.5 million refugees, dispersed to the four corners of the globe, to return to their homes and villages from which they were brutally uprooted when the Zionist state was created more than 61 years ago.

However, we all know that the Fatah leadership’s declared commitment to the right of return is only symbolic and mainly propagandistic in nature.

Indeed, PLO officials, including Mahmoud Abbas, said on numerous occasions that when Palestinians speak about the right of return for the refugees, what they actually mean is a return to the contemplated Palestinian state, not to ” Israel” where the bulk of these refugees and their ancestors had been living for centuries.

In fact, the PLO retreat doesn’t merely stop at compromising the right of return but also encompasses the subject of al-Quds al Sharif (Noble Jerusalem), which the Israeli occupation regime continues to Judaize at an alarming rate, by obliterating its Arab-Islamic identity using bulldozers and explosives and other means of ethnic cleansing.

Indeed, statements and remarks by PLO officials, especially Abbas and his immediate coterie of aides, advisors and hangers-on, continue to make diluted statements about Jerusalem , which reveals a principled willingness to accept the annexation to Israel of huge parts of the occupied city in the context of any final-status settlement with the Zionist state.

“We have to be realistic and pragmatic,” these demoralized officials and “leaders” would say in private conversations.

Unfortunately, the “new” PLO-Fatah leadership seems to have interpreted the recent Fatah elections, not as a reassertion of traditional positions opposing Israeli territorial expansion and efforts to liquidate the right of return, but rather as a vindication of the Abbas-Fayyad line whereby Palestinians would have to accept what is internationally possible in terms of what the Palestinians are realistically able to extricate from Israel’s parsimonious hands.

This is at odd with the mendacious and misleading rhetoric by many Fatah leaders who don’t stop claiming that the group’s Sixth Congress, which took place in Bethlehem in early August, was a valuable asset benefiting the Palestinian cause and bolstering the so-called Arafat line.

Well, the coming days and weeks will show that the Fatah leadership is either day-dreaming or deliberately not telling the truth to the Palestinian people.

There is no doubt that there are many patriotic people within Fatah, an organization that undeniably shouldered the national cause for many years.

But it is also true that corrupt and mediocre elements do have the upper hand and, more importantly, control the coffers of Fatah, which enable them to dictate and impose their views on the rest of the movement, perhaps save honest people like Farouk Kaddumi, who are too old and too powerless to reverse the tides against the “pragmatists” who think that the goal of statehood overrides any other cause, including the right of return and the liberation of al-Quds from the claws of Zionism.

One would always want to consider the half-filled glass and not give in to pessimism. However, one must also guard against false optimism to avoid disastrous ramifications.

It is said that Fatah’s financial survival depends nearly completely on the PA which is kept afloat thanks to regular handouts from western donors, especially the US and its Arab puppet regimes.

This financial dependence, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, is nearly always translated into political cooption, as is clear from Fatah’s disgraceful silence vis-à-vis the criminal security coordination between the newly-founded PA security apparatus and the Israeli occupation army.

Well, there are those who would argue rather candidly that if Fatah could tolerate the close “operational coordination” with Israel, it likewise would be willing to come to terms with the liquidation of the Palestinian cause in one way or the other, for the sake of political survival and especially for the hefty salaries at the end of the month.

I hope this is not going to be the case.

Ahmadinejad: Riot Leaders and Instigators Should Be Punished



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Readers Number : 53

28/08/2009 Iran's President Mamoud Ahmadinejad called for the first time on Friday for the punishment of riot leaders over the unrest unleashed by the presidential elections. "Serious confrontation should take place with the leaders and main instigators of the incidents. Those who provoked, organized and implemented the enemy's line should be confronted firmly," Ahmadinejad said in a speech at Tehran Friday prayers carried live on state radio.

"Those from lower ranks and the ones who were deceived should be treated with Islamic compassion," Ahmadinejad added, drawing chants of "riot leaders should be executed" from the worshippers.

Iran faced its worst crisis since the establishment of the Islamic republic in 1979 when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in week-long protests against the June 12 poll results during which about 30 people were killed. About 4,000 people were initially arrested.

Iran jailed several prison guards and vowed to prosecute them but the president on Friday pointed an accusing finger at Iran's foreign enemies and the "overthrowing movement" over attacks on university dormitories and prisoner abuse. "What happened in the dorms and detention centers was part of the enemy's scenario carried out by the dependants of the overthrowing movement," he charged. "Revolutionary forces are innocent of such shameful acts. "Our basijis were beaten up in the street as they were protecting people's rights," he said.

SUPPORT ISRAEL AGAINST THE "UGLY" WAR CRIMES

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Let's all support the "pretty" war crimes and IGNORE the "ugly" ones. That's what some Israeli's want us to do. I have a BIG point to make today regarding the Swedish article that has many in an uproar. If you can’t apply the same logic to one victim of a war crime, then you shouldn't believe any of them, this will be the “new” mantra of the Israeli government on the heels of the Swedish article. Aside from freedom of the press issues, what we are really talking about are “Crimes” and the reporting of alleged “Crimes” this is not Anti-Semitic. What this is really about, is furthering the censorship agenda by Israel and laying precedence for future rebuttal by Israel over War Crimes accusations. What's the difference between these:




And THIS;
Nothing, they are all war crimes, so why treat them any differently. But, we are meant to ignore these "ugly" war crimes, and support for Israel is coming from some unusual places. Today Israel is happy, it is happy because many Jews who were supportive of helping Palestine have now joined with the Israeli government over the Swedish article. The Israeli government will see this as a victory, a coming together of Jews, a chink in the armour of the peace movement and a call for censorship and a reining in of journalists who write about Israeli war crimes. Haaretz has become supportive of the Zionist plot to censor the media. Yesterday an entire piece was published HERE and another HERE regarding the Swedish article about Organ Harvesting from Palestinians. Why would they support the Israeli government stance on censoring these Swedish journalists, when Haaretz themselves have published hundreds of articles based on reports of alleged Palestinian victims of other Zionist war crimes. Why would self proclaimed pro-peace, pro-Palestinian equality Jews suddenly have a problem with this Swedish article? I wondered about that.

I can understand the horror of having to face the possibility that soldiers from Israel would be capable of such a crime. But, I am equally certain that the American public felt the same thing when American soldiers were first accused of the atrocities of rape, grotesque perverted torture in Abu Ghraib and make shift prisons in Iraq. That is, until more came out over years of journalists doing interviews with alleged victims. However, leading up to what is now common belief about the American military actions regarding those events which were common place and emanated from high above within the American government no less; there were hundreds of stories reported, years before anything was proven. Amazingly enough, we did not see the American Bush government strong arming other countries with threats about publishing reports based on statements of alleged victims or witnesses. Of course we did see counter reporting and statements from the American government and military as expected. But that is fair game, fair reporting and fair journalism, FREEDOM of the press, let the reader make up their own minds. It is not censorship, it is not threats, and it is not creating an international crisis over an article about an alleged war crime. So, why is Israel allowed to get away with this now? And more importantly why would anyone purporting to want justice for Palestinians support Israel in it's attempts to censor journalists.

What about war crimes? How are they to ever be uncovered or investigated if the victims and witnesses are never allowed to tell their story because the crime is “too gruesome” to fathom. Using this type of mentality the abuse and torture in Abu Ghraib would have never seen the light of day.

And to the defenders of Haaretz and Israel’s stance over this: What about the Rabbi’s in New Jersey, or Bernie Madoff? Is the reporting of those crimes “Anti-Semitic” as some have claimed in Israeli papers who called the FBI investigation an “anti-Semitic plot?”

Reporting crimes is not anti-Semitic. Crimes like these have recently been committed by Rabbis in New Jersey with links to Israel. Those rabbis were capable of getting kidneys from Israel and selling them. Where did they get them from and who supplied them? In that light, I should think that these new recent claims should be investigated, instead of covered up by threats and intimidation. Where are the threats to sue America and the FBI for investigating and arresting these Rabbi criminals? Where is the international crisis over this? Same thing, it’s all about illegal organ trafficking, the only difference is one takes place in America, and one takes place in Palestine. However, they are, as usual, not treated equally. And guess which side gets the lopsided treatment? Never mind though, as I’m 100% sure that before this FBI case comes to trial, the organ trafficking part will be dropped as a favour to Israel. AIPAC will get going soon and begin their arm twisting and bribing for Israel as is standard operating procedure in America.

Until now, many in the Israeli peace movement have supported investigation into Zionist war crimes. Those War crimes were drawn up on reports by alleged witnesses and victims who are Palestinian. Going back to the Palestinians who made the recent claim about Organ trade, I ask this: What is the distinction between believing the statements of Palestinians who said Israel dropped white phosphorous on civilians, or shot at point blank range a Palestinian child, or kidnapping and interning a Palestinian without trail for years, or taking control of a Palestinian home during “Cast Lead” and then urinating and defecating all over it. Shooting innocent people at checkpoints, removing Palestinians from their homes, Settlers shooting and murdering Palestinians with the support of the IDF and government. Letting Palestinian children die for lack of treatment and supplies, starving people, forcing them to live for generations in refugee camps whilst they still have the keys to their homes which you stole. How is it “ok” to believe all of this on the words of Palestinian witnesses and victims, yet NOT apply the same logic to the organ harvesting claims of abuse, also coming from Palestinians who claim they are victims? War crimes are just that and some are more gruesome than others, but they are still war crimes, and those victims have the right to tell their story just the same as the victims of white phosphorous or any other Palestinian who has been a victim during Israel’s siege and genocide.

Is this an ugly subject? Yes it is, and it is understandable why Israelis find it distasteful. But it may be true, and by attempting to defend this or by supporting the Israel government stance, people are effectively helping to lay precedence. Meaning that this same “logic” will now be used by Israel to deflect from other war crimes Israeli’s see as “less ghoulish and ugly” but they are STILL war crimes and people were STILL left dead. Being murdered at a checkpoint or having white phosphorous dropped on your head may be more palatable than having ones organs removed, but both victims are dead. And that’s the reality. Now here are a few examples of this same “logic” on journalism, note the irony:

1. America demands that all journalists stop writing about Iraqi war atrocities committed by American soldiers, this includes all articles about torture and abuse both in Iraq and Abu Ghraib detention centre. As this type of reporting of alleged victims stories are nothing more than Anti-American journalism and should not be allowed.

2. Iran demands journalists immediately stop publishing articles about its President and elections. As these articles are based on reports from unverified Internet sources they are clearly biased and are anti-Iranian in nature. Additionally, Iran insists that reporters stop publishing reports that say Iran is making a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence of this, yet these reports continue on a daily basis. They are clearly designed to fan the flames of Anti-Iranian hatred, and as such should stop being published immediately.

3. Germany demands all journalists write no more articles about Hitler, the Holocaust, or German Nazi death camp crimes, as these articles are clearly anti-German journalism. Stories from alleged witnesses and victims are clearly racist and anti-German.

Imagine if Germany had taken the same stance as Israel now. What if Germany had censored journalists from ever writing about crimes from alleged victims of Nazi torture and death camps. It was the Jewish victims personal stories that uncovered Israel’s “holy grail holocaust” and the Palestinians should have the same right to tell their stories. Even if they are just as hard to hear as the Nazi stories were to Germans, or the Iraqi torture stories were to Americans.

We can never have an investigation, because Israel does not cooperate. There will never be any investigation our outcome as was in America over Abu Ghraib. So, all we have are the stories of the victims, and now Israel wants to stop them from talking. I’m done here, point made.

Posted by irish4palestine at 1:31 PM

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History of Israeli Organ Harvesting

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The New "Blood Libel"?

By ALISON WEIR
August 28, 2009

Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/

An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

Israel’s first heart transplant

Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family's consent. (3) (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

He responded:

"There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?” (4)

Mysterious Scottish death

In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair's corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

The J report states:

“A heart said to be Sinclair's was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother's, but the Institute's director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist's and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either. (5,6,7)

Israeli government officials raise questions

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

“In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

“The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.” (8)

Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

“… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)

In 2002 the service reported:

“The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss."

Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

“In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.” (10)

Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.” (11)

In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

IPS reports:

The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country's government.”

The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, "in a legal manner, complying with international norms," and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system "were a determining factor" that allowed the network to function. (12)

Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

IPS goes on to report:

“Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000. (13)

Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested. (14)

In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel's leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: "His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000." (15)

This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs. (16)

Israel’s organ donor problems

Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards. (17)

“According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.” (18, 19)

The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

“Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

Palestinian disappearances increase

Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah, (20) reports in his recent article:

“While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

“Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

“I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

“The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

“The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

Why autopsies?

Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

He goes on to write:

“We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.” (21)

The new “Blood Libel”?

In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.” (22, 23)

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled "Pasque di Sangue" (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

“My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

(Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.” ) (26)

Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

"I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn't be afraid to tell the truth."

Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. A version of this article containing citations and additional information is available at http://ifamericansknew/cur_sit/sweden.html

Notes.

1/ There are two English translations; this article uses the first:
http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en
http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/SwedishTrans.html

The original Swedish article in Aftonbladet can be viewed at
http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.ab

2/ New York Times, Feb. 3, 1969, p. 8, Column 6 (53 words)
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046041.html

3/ 40 years after Israel's first transplant, donor's family says his heart was stolen
By Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz Correspondent, Dec. 14, 2008
http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0490/9004021.htm

4/ Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 1990, Page 21, The Intifada: Autopsies and Executions
http://www.jweekly.com/

5/ October 30, 1998,Bizarre death of Scottish tourist involves suicide, missing heart
by NETTY C. GROSS, Jerusalem Post Service
http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/

6/ The Forward, Illicit Body-Part Sales Present Widespread Problem, By Rebecca Dube, Aug. 26, 2009
http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg114437.html

7/ Masons, Muslims, Templars, Jews, Henry and Dolly.
http://ccun.org/Opinion

8/ Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Khalid Amayreh, August 20, 2009

9/ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/12699


10/ http://www.forward.com/articles/112915/


11/ http://www.economist.com/

12/ The Economist, Organ transplants: The gap between supply and demand, Oct. 9, 2008

12/http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=22524
BRAZIL: Poor Sell Organs to Trans-Atlantic Trafficking Ring
By Mario Osava, IPS, Feb. 23, 2004

13/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/935092.html
Haaretz, Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking, By Fadi Eyadat, Dec. 18, 2007

14/ http://www.jpost.com/Police uncover illegal organ trade ring
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, July 23, 2007

15/ http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/671687
Sting rocks U.S. transplant industry, David Porter, Carla K. Johnson, ASSOCIATED PRESS, july 25, 2009

16/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1102799.html

U.S. Professor: I told FBI about kidney trafficking 7 years ago
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, August, 3, 2009

17/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3388529,00.html

A mitzvah called organ donation, Efrat Shapira-Rosenberg, 10.6.07

18/ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3265889,00.html
Orthodox in uproar over organ donation incident, Neta Sela, 06.22.06

19/ http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Body_Snatchers.htm

The Return of the Body Snatchers, By Israel Shamir,

20/ http://www.bokus.com/b/9789170370939.html


21/ http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=8390&lg=en

22/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/829381.html
Ha’aretz. The Wayward Son, by Adi Schwartz, March 1, 2007

23/ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Ha’aaretz, Bar-Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, Feb 11, 2007

24/ http://www.bloodpassover.com/toafftableofcontents.htm

Israeli writer Israel Shamir reports that some years ago “…a leading Chabad rabbi, Yitzhak Ginzburgh, gave his religious permission for a Jew to take a liver from a non-Jew even without his consent. He said that ‘a Jew is entitled to extract the liver from a goy if he needs it, for the life of a Jew is more valuable than the life of a goy, likewise the life of a goy is more valuable than the life of an animal.’

25/ http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/824152.html
Haaretz, Bar Ilan to order professor to explain research behind blood libel book, by Ofri Hani, Feb. 11, 2007.


26. http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108011.html
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August/September 2001, page 11, In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001), By Norton Mezvinsky

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