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Is Israeli Defense Force Abducting, Killing and Harvesting Palestinian Organs
There is indication that some members of the Israeli Defense Force has been abducting and killing Palestinians and then harvesting body organs for sale on the black market. Recently, Israelis including rabbis were arrested here in the US and others were arrested in Romania. Among the charges were trafficking in body organs. The Swedes have been called anti-semites for writing a story about the IDF killing Palestinians for their organs. The story was printed in the Jerusalem Post recently.
Israel has recently become something of a pariah in the transplant world. Without a strong culture of organ donation and under the pressure of angry transplant candidates, the Ministry of Health has refused to crack down on the countrys multi-million dollar business in transplant tourism that arranges junkets from dialysis clinics in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to medical centres in Europe and the United States.
"Why should we Israelis be made to travel to third world clinics to get the kidneys we need to survive from the bodies of peasants, soldiers, or guest workers who may be in worse physical shape than ourselves?" a 71-year-old "kidney buyer" from Tel Aviv asked me rhetorically. "Organs should be seen as a human, not as a national resource." It was good to see "Avirham," an elderly gentleman, alive and happy with his revitalizing 22-year-old "peasant" kidney. And his living donor? "A peasant, without anything!" he replied. "Do you have any idea what $1,000, let alone $5,000 means in the life of a peasant?"
For most bio-ethicists, the "slippery slope" in transplant medicine begins with the emergence of a black market in organs and tissue sales. For the anthropologist, it emerges much earlier: the first time a frail and ailing human looks at another living person and realizes that inside that other body is something that can prolong his or her life. The desire is articulated: "I want that; I need that even more than you." In terms of transplants, the kidney has emerged as the ultimate fetish, promising to satisfy the most basic of human desires — that for life, vitality and ?lan.
The sale of human organs and tissues requires that certain disadvantaged individuals and populations have been reduced to the role of "suppliers." It is a scenario in which bodies are dismembered, transported, processed and sold in the interests of a more socially advantaged population of organ and tissue receivers. I use the word "fetish" advisedly to conjure up the displaced magical energy that is invested in the strangely animate kidney. Avirham, who flew from Jerusalem to Georgia for his kidney, explained why he would never tolerate a donation from a corpse: "That kidney is practically dead. It was probably pinned down under the wheels of a car for several hours... I was able to see my donor. He was young, healthy, strong. Just what I was hoping for."
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, The Organ of Last Resort, UNESCO, The Courier, July/August 2001 www.unesco.org/courier/2001_07/uk/doss34 .htm