Allegations into organ trafficking must be investigated


(PALOS HILLS, IL 08/24/09) – A recent article raising questions whether the Israeli Defense Forces kidnapped, killed and culled organs from young Palestinian men caused a firestorm of controversy that ultimately pitted Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu against the Swedish government.

Yet despite the controversy and the criticism heaped upon Swedish reporter Donald Boström, the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) believes the questions the article raises must be investigated.

The article was published in the Swedish tabloid the Aftonbladet, the largest daily in the Nordic countries. It recounted rampant rumors that the IDF harvested organs from Palestinians. The article also told the tale of young Bilal Ahmed Ghanim, 19, who was shot by IDF soldiers in 1992. The soldiers took him away only to return his body five days later in a “shroud of secrecy,” Boström writes. The soldiers stood guard while relatives dug the young man’s grave. Only when the hospital sheets wrapping the body came unwound, was Boström able to snap a picture of Bilal’s torso, which had been cut from his groin to his chin and then sewn up haphazardly.

Boström linked the organ-theft rumors and the July 23 arrest in New Jersey of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who was charged with selling kidneys harvested in Israel to Americans. Rosenbaum was among 44 people – including elected officials and rabbis – who were arrested in a money laundering and corruption sting.

Since the article appeared, Boström has received numerous death threats, according to the Aftonbladet.  Netanyahu is pressuring the Swedish government to condemn the newspaper and Boström. The Swedish government refuses to interfere with the freedom of the press, and the newspaper is standing by the story. Its editor Jan Helin told Haaretz recently that the newspaper is calling for an investigation into the allegations.

Boström writes: “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.”

The original Swedish article can be found here, and an English translation is here

AMP calls on officials at the U.S. State Department, U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell and the United Nations to launch an immediate investigation into Israeli culpability in the New Jersey Rabbis case and if there are any links to the questions Boström’s article raises concerning illegally harvesting Palestinian organs.

For more information, contact Kristin Szremski, director of media and communications, at 708.717.4180 or [email protected]" target="_blank">[email protected]