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      PA to 'Investigate' Organ Theft Libel

      The Palestinian Authority is taking Swedish tabloid reports of IDF organ theft seriously, and has established a committee to look into the matter.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 9/3/2009, 8:14 PM

      (file)

      Senior Palestinian Authority officials announced Thursday that they have opened an investigation into allegations that the IDF stole organs from PA Arabs. The allegations were first reported in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.

      The PA investigation will be conducted by senior staff, including the heads of various ministries.

      If the accusations are found to be true, the PA will file charges against Israel for violating human rights, said PA official Hassan Abu Libdeh. He said the investigative committee has already begun gathering evidence.

      The only “evidence” sited in the Aftonbladet report was testimony from PA Arabs, particularly the family of Ahmed Bilal Ghanem. Ghanem was killed while fighting Israeli soldiers in 1992; his body was given to his family after an autopsy. The family claimed that the autopsy scars were proof that Ghanem's organs had been taken.

      Aftonbladet reporter Donald Bostrom implied in his report that IDF soldiers have a policy of executing PA Arabs and selling their organs. Bostrom later admitted that he had no idea if the allegations were true or not, but said it was important to publicize the allegations in order to lead to an investigation.

      The report caused anger in Israel, where senior officials accused Aftonbladet of starting a blood libel. Relations between Israel and Sweden grew tense as the Swedish government refused to condemn the report.

      An Israeli activist has filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against Aftonbladet for the “racist blood libel” it printed. The suit was filed in New York because the report implied that New York-based rabbis were involved in the alleged organ sale plot, he explained.