Israel harvesting organs from Palestinian bodies, say Gaza officials

Israel harvesting organs from Palestinian bodies, say Gaza officials
Officials in Gaza have accused Israel of harvesting organs from deceased Palestinians before handing them over, citing significant alterations.
3 min read
27 December, 2023

Israel has been harvesting organs from the bodies of Palestinians, local authorities in Gaza said late on Tuesday after receiving dozens of bodies of slain Palestinians from Israeli forces.

An examination of the bodies revealed that there were significant changes made to them with signs of the theft of organs from corpses, the Gaza-based media office said in a statement, urging for an international probe.

The bodies were handed to Gaza authorities without any identification of the dead, the media office said, adding that Israeli forces refused to disclose where the bodies came from.

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The statement also said that this was not the first such incident since Israel's war on Gaza began on 7 October, adding that there had been previous incidents with bodies missing organs and bodies exhumed from graveyards.

The statement slammed the "silence" and inaction of international organisations operating in Gaza, including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Israeli authorities are yet to comment on the allegations.

Early on Tuesday, Israel handed over the bodies of dozens of around 80 Palestinians killed by its forces in Gaza. They are believed to have been either detained by Israeli forces during ground operations and then killed or their bodies were seized after being killed in attacks.

Gaza's Health Ministry said it received the bodies of the slain Palestinians through the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) border crossing with Israel earlier on Tuesday.

The Quds News Network reported that the bodies will be buried in mass graves.

The director of Mohammed Yousef El-Najar Hospital in Rafah city, Marwan Al-Hams, said that the UN had informed them that the bodies will be handed over by Israel.

"The bodies arrived inside a container, some intact, while others were in pieces, and some others had decomposed," he said.

Last month, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called for the creation of an independent international investigative committee into suspected organ theft.

Euro-Med Monitor had documented the Israeli force's confiscation of dozens of dead bodies from Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, and others from the vicinity of the so-called "safe corridor" (Salah al-Din Road) designated for displaced people heading to the central and southern parts of the Strip.

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According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israeli forces also dug up and confiscated bodies from a mass grave that was dug in mid-November in one of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex’s courtyards.

While dozens of corpses were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which in turn transported them to the southern Gaza Strip to complete the burial process, the Israeli army is still holding the bodies of dozens of dead people.

Israel's onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, which began on 7 October, had killed over 21,110 Palestinians - mostly women and children - and left at least 55,243 wounded.