Shocking article in Sweden angers Israel
Wed, 19 Aug 2009 14:14:11 GMT

An article by a Swedish newspaper suggesting that Israeli troops kidnap and kill Palestinians to steal their body organs has triggered the ire of Israeli officials.

The article published in Sweden's largest circulation daily Aftonbladet on Monday claimed Israeli soldiers abduct young Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and return their bodies to their families after removing their organs.

The shocking report was revealed following the arrest of a New York rabbi accused of trafficking in human organs.

The article,They plunder the organs of our sons, nonetheless, was heavily criticized by Israeli media as well as officials who accused its writer, Donald Bostrom, of being "anti-semite."

Bostrom, however, says he has based the story on testimony from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and has denied accusations that he was motivated by anti-Semitism.

In the article, he mentions an incident in which a Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers apparently for hurling stones at their vehicle in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The Palestinian, who was shot in his chest, stomach and both legs, was moved to an unknown location while being in critical condition. Five days later, his body was returned to his family with a visible scar from his neck to stomach.

Autopsy revealed that some of his organs were removed.

Bostrom believes a shortage of organs for transplant in Israel is the real cause behind the violent crime and mentions a 1992 government campaign to recruit new donors.

At the same time that this organ campaign was going on, young Palestinian men were disappearing and being delivered back to their villages five days later at night, dead and cut open, he writes.

Responding to the shocking report, an Israeli military spokesman denied the charges and said Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were routinely subjected to autopsies.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has also condemned the report, saying This piece is so blatantly racist and can induce to hate crimes in such a way that we think authorities need to take care of the matter.

The ministry is also reportedly considering summoning the Swedish ambassador to protest against his government policies as well as the article.

The Israeli Embassy in Stockholm has also sent a strong diplomatic protest to the Swedish government.

Bostrom said another Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, refused to publish his piece "with no explanation" while Aftonbladet, a popular newspaper in Sweden, published the article without making any editorial changes.