[News] Swedish report correct - Palestinian bodies plundered for organs

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 21 18:32:57 EDT 2009

Farwana: “All facts on the ground prove Swedish report correct”


  Saturday August 22, 2009 00:05
 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Former Palestinian detainee, researcher 
Abdul-Nasser Farwana, stated that all facts on 
the ground, since decades, prove that the Israeli 
occupation executed Palestinian detainees after 
they surrendered and refused to hand their bodies 
to their families. Hundreds of bodies were 
transferred to the families days, months or even 
years after the fact, and when the bodies were 
sent back, they were missing vital internal organs.

Farwana added that the Swedish report, written by 
Donald Boström and published by Aftonbladet 
Swedish paper, regarding illegal trafficking of 
body parts of Palestinians is directly connected 
to the execution of Palestinians after they 
surrendered to the army, and is connected with 
the arrest of 40 well-known figures, including 
Rabbis in New Jersey for money laundering and 
corruption, in a scheme that involved sales of 
Israeli kidneys in the US and other corruption rackets.

Farwana added that one of the illegal acts 
carried out by Israel is having secret detention 
facilities in which dozens of detainees were 
imprisoned and never heard of anymore. This is in 
addition to the “Numbers Graveyard” in which 
“unknown” Palestinian and Arab fighters are buried.

He said that Israel still denies it is holding 
hundreds of Palestinian and Arab fighter, and 
refuses to cooperate with the Red Cross on the issue.

The researcher added that Israel is the only 
state that had a policy of detaining the bodies 
of slain Arab and Palestinian fighters, and that 
some 300 fighters are buried in the numbers graveyard.

Hundreds of bodies were returned during 
prisoner-swap deals, including the latest 
swap-deal between Hezbollah and Israel in which 
some 200 bodies were moved to Lebanon.

Farwana further said that dozens of detainees 
died in Israeli prisons, some due to torture, and 
their bodies were not immediately sent to their 
families, but instead were moved to forensic 
center, and some of their body parts were removed 
before bodies were sent back to the Palestinians.

He said  the Swedish paper said in its report 
that Palestinians youth were abducted by the 
Israeli army from their homes, were killed later 
on, and when their bodies were return, they were 
cut open and vital organs were missing.

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Rosenberg, who was recently 
arrested in New York, is believed to be involved 
in illegal trade of organs, and that he sold 
Kidney to patients in the United States for 160.000 USD.

The Aftonbladet report placed the Israeli-Swedish 
relations at odds, and some Israel officials 
demanded Sweden to officially apologize, while 
other officials said that this report in part of 
the efforts to demonize Israel and the Jews.

This is the link for the full Aftonbladet report, 
in English, with pictures attached 
The article follows.

“Our sons plundered for their organs”

You could call me a “matchmaker,” said Levy Izhak 
Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, USA, in a secret 
recording with an FBI-agent whom he believed to 
be a client. Ten days later, at the end of July 
this year, Rosenbaum was arrested and a vast, 
Sopranos-like, imbroglio of money-laundering and 
illegal organ-trade was revealed. Rosenbaum’s 
matchmaking had nothing to do with romance. It 
was all about buying and selling kidneys from 
Israel on the black market. Rosenbaum says that 
he buys the kidneys for $10,000, from poor 
people. He then proceeds to sell the organs to 
desperate patients in the States for $160,000. 
The accusations have shaken the American 
transplantation business. If they are true it 
means that organ trafficking is documented for 
the first time in the US, experts tell the New Jersey Real-Time News.

On the question of how many organs he has sold 
Rosenbaum replies: “Quite a lot. And I have never 
failed,” he boasts. The business has been running 
for quite some time. Francis Delmonici, professor 
of transplant surgery at Harvard and member of 
the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of 
Directors, tells the same newspaper that 
organ-trafficking, similar to the one reported 
from Israel, is carried out in other places of 
the world as well. 5–6,000 operations a year, 
about ten per cent of the world’s kidney 
transplants are carried out illegally, according to Delmonici.

Countries suspected of these activities are 
Pakistan, the Philippines and China, where the 
organs are allegedly taken from executed 
prisoners. But Palestinians also 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.

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 
nineties. 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).

In the summer of 1992, Ehud Olmert, then minister 
of health, tried to address the issue of organ 
shortage by launching a big campaign aimed at 
having the Israeli public register for 
post-mortem organ donation. Half a million 
pamphlets were spread in local newspapers. Ehud 
Olmert himself was the first person to sign up. A 
couple of weeks later the Jerusalem Post reported 
that the campaign was a success. No fewer than 
35,000 people had signed up. Prior to the 
campaign it would have been 500 in a normal 
month. In the same article, however, Judy Siegel, 
the reporter, wrote that the gap between supply 
and demand was still large. 500 people were in 
line for a kidney transplant, but only 124 
transplants could be performed. Of 45 people in 
need of a new liver, only three could be operated on in Israel.

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. One 
example that I encountered on this eerie trip was 
the young stone-thrower Bilal Achmed Ghanan.

It was close to midnight when the motor roar from 
an Israeli military column sounded from the 
outskirts of Imatin, a small village in the 
northern parts of the West Bank. The two thousand 
inhabitants were awake. They were still, waiting, 
like silent shadows in the dark, some lying upon 
roofs, others hiding behind curtains, walls, or 
trees that provided protection during the curfew 
but still offered a full view toward what would 
become the grave for the first martyr of the 
village. The military had interrupted the 
electricity and the area was now a closed-off 
military zone – not even a cat could move 
outdoors without risking its life. The 
overpowering silence of the dark night was only 
interrupted by quiet sobbing. I don’t remember if 
our shivering was due to the cold or to the 
tension. Five days earlier, on May 13, 1992, an 
Israeli special force had used the village’s 
carpentry workshop for an ambush. The person they 
were assigned to put out of action was Bilal 
Achmed Ghanan, one of the stone-throwing 
Palestinian youngsters who made life difficult for the Israeli soldiers.

As one of the leading stone-throwers Bilal Ghanan 
had been wanted by the military for a couple of 
years. Together with other stone-throwing boys he 
hid in the Nablus mountains, with no roof over 
his head. Getting caught meant torture and death 
for these boys – they had to stay in the mountains at all costs.

On May 13 Bilal made an exception, when for some 
reason, he walked unprotected past the carpentry 
workshop. Not even Talal, his older brother, 
knows why he took this risk. Maybe the boys were 
out of food and needed to restock.

Everything went according to plan for the Israeli 
special force. The soldiers stubbed their 
cigarettes, put away their cans of Coca-Cola, and 
calmly aimed through the broken window. When 
Bilal was close enough they needed only to pull 
the triggers. 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. Villagers say that people from 
both the UN and the Red Crescent were close by, 
heard the discharge and came to look for wounded 
people in need of care. Some arguing took place 
as to who should take care of the victim. 
Discussions ended with 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 came back, dead and wrapped in green hospital fabric.

A villager recognized Captain Yahya, the leader 
of the military column who had transported Bilal 
from the postmortem center Abu Kabir, outside of 
Tel Aviv, to the place for his final rest. 
“Captain Yahya is the worst of them all,” the 
villager whispered in my ear. After Yahya had 
unloaded the body and changed the green fabric 
for a light cotton one, some male relatives of 
the victim were chosen by the soldiers to do the 
job of digging and mixing cement.

Together with the sharp noises from the shovels 
we could hear laughter from the soldiers who, as 
they waited to go home, exchanged some jokes. As 
Bilal was put in the grave his chest was 
uncovered. Suddenly it became clear to the few 
people present just what kind of abuse the boy 
had been exposed to. Bilal was not by far the 
first young Palestinian to be buried with a slit 
from his abdomen up to his chin.

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 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?” 
Nafe’s uncle was upset and he had a lot of questions.

The relatives of the dead Palestinians no longer 
harbored any doubts as to the reasons for the 
killings, but the spokesperson for the Israeli 
army claimed that the allegations of organ theft 
were lies. All the Palestinian victims go through 
autopsy on a routine basis, he said. Bilal Achmed 
Ghanem was one of 133 Palestinians killed in 
various ways that year. According to the 
Palestinian statistics the causes of death were: 
shot in the street, explosion, tear gas, 
deliberately run over, hanged in prison, shot in 
school, killed at home etcetera. The 133 people 
killed were between four months to 88 years old. 
Only half of them, 69 victims, went through 
postmortem examination. The routine autopsy of 
killed Palestinians –  of which the army 
spokesperson was talking – has no bearing on the 
reality in the occupied territories. The questions remain.

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.

Freedom Archives
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