Israel has admitted harvesting organs from the bodies of Palestinians and Israelis without permission from their families during the 1990s. “The admission follows the release of an interview with Jehuda Hiss, the former head of Israel’s forensic institute, in which he said that workers at the institute had harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from Israelis, Palestinians and foreign workers. In the interview, which was conducted in 2000 when Hiss was head of Tel Aviv’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, he said: ‘We started to harvest corneas … Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.’ Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who conducted the interview, told Al Jazeera on Monday that Hiss had said the ‘body parts were used by hospitals for transplant purposes – cornea transplants. They were sent to public hospitals [for use on citizens]. And the skin went to a special skin bank, founded by the military, for their uses’, such as for burns victims. The practice is said to have ended in 2000.”
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