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Israel harvesting Palestinian bodies: Mansour

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The Palestinian Authority’s UN representative has claimed Israel is harvesting the organs of dead Palestinians, leading Israel’s envoy to accuse the PA of spreading a blood libel. In a letter to the UN secretary general, ambassador Riyad Mansour protested Israel’s “persistent aggression against the Palestinian people” over the past month of unrest and what he called its “insistence on use of violent force and oppressive measures.”

He then claimed that bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces “were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power.”

“After returning the seized bodies of Palestinians killed by the occupying forces through October, and following medical examinations, it has been reported that the bodies were returned with missing corneas and other organs,” Mansour wrote Rycroft on Tuesday.

He added that this was confirmation of “past reports about organ harvesting.”

In response Israeli envoy Danny Danon called the organ harvesting accusation a “blood libel” and said the claim had shown the Palestinian ambassador’s true “anti-Semitic face.” It was not the first time claims have been made that Israel harvested Palestinian organs. The allegation appeared in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in 2009. It was also reported by Time magazine in 2014, though the publication later posted a retraction.

Israeli officials have vehemently denied the allegations, saying they were based on anti-Semitic tropes against Jews. The focus of Mansour’s Nov. 3 letter to Rycroft was the recent violence in Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.

At least 68 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces, including 41 who Israel says were attackers. Many were teenagers. Eleven Israelis have been killed in stabbings, shootings or other attacks.

Mansour wrote that “far from de-escalating, the situation remains precarious due to Israel’s insistence on the use of violent force and oppressive measures.”

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