Israel police uncovers organ trafficking ring in north
Police on Tuesday arrested six men suspected of being involved in an organ trafficking ring in northern Israel. Among the suspects are an IDF reserves brigadier-general and two lawyers.
The department for fraud and misappropriation in northern Israel has been conducting an undercover investigation which began following a complaint by a 50-year-old woman from Nazareth, who replied to an advertisement in Arabic offering 100,000 dollars for a kidney.
The woman underwent medical examinations to ensure a match, and she was then flown a country in Eastern Europe where they extracted her kidney. The woman said that when she returned to Israel, she did not receive the money promised to her. Police say they have since received similar complaints.
Police also said that during the investigation they uncovered a large, very well-organized industry of organ trafficking. The ring includes organ traffickers, agents, and lawyers.
"The ring is operating throughout Israel and not only in the north, and appeals to the public through local media and internet," a police official said. "The organ traffickers somehow receive details about potential transplant candidates and they offer them their services," he said.
The investigators said that the traffickers usually demand around 120,000 dollars for a kidney transplant. While the donors, the majority of which are in serious financial troubles, are taken advantage of and receive around 10,000 dollars. Some of them get even smaller sums, and some do not receive any money at all.
The donors sign a contract and fill out fraudulent affidavits claiming a family connection between the donor and the recipient - a requirement in the countries where the surgeries take place.
Afterwards, the donors undergo medical examinations where they are categorized by blood types and other medical conditions, and are then flown to countries in Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and Ecuador.
There, the donors undergo surgery to extract their kidney, and shortly afterwards return to Israel without any medical documentation, many times suffering from medical complications.
During the investigation, police found out that a number of transplant candidates were on their way abroad to undergo surgery. Police located the donors and informed them that they were victims of fraud. Some of the donors were located at Israel's Ben-Gurion airport, right before their departure.
Investigators said that there are several more fraud victims located abroad who are due to return to Israel after they were notified that some of the traffickers were under arrest
April 14, 2010
Israeli general at center of Israeli organ trafficking.
Echoing the famous line from the movie "Casablanca," Israeli police say they are "shocked" to find organ trafficking in their country.
Last week, Israeli police arrested six people, including reserve Israeli Defense Force (IDF) General Meir Zamir, for organ trafficking. A Palestinian woman from Nazareth was flown to Azerbaijan to have her kidney removed on a promise of $100,000 from the Israeli organ trafficking ring. However, the woman never received the money after her kidney was removed. An 18-year old male was flown to the Philippines by the Israeli ring in order to have his kidney removed with a promise of $80,000.
Reprising the role of Inspector Louis Reynaud in "Casablnca," Israeli Police Superintendent Ahron Galor was quoted by BBC, "We ran an undercover investigation and we were shocked by the proportions of this." However, there was evidence for the past several years that Israel was engaged in illegal organ trafficking and even organ theft from Palestinians killed by Israeli troops.
On February 22, 2008, WMR reported: "Francis Delmonico, MD, in a paper presented at a February 21 seminar at the Cato Institute in Washington in opposition to organ trafficking and marketing for organ sales . . . decried the fact that Israel is outsourcing kidney and liver transplants to Colombia and the Philippines. Israel has, in the past, been a center for dubious human organ trafficking operations. It is also the case that Palestinian prisoners in Israel have sought to sell their kidneys to feed their children. The Israel Medical Association is opposing a bill that would allow the donors of certain organs to be reimbursed by the state. The group claims this will 'open the door' to organ sales."
On September 8, 2009, WMR reported: "After the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published an expose of the Israeli Defense Forces harvesting the organs from young Palestinians killed by its forces in the West Bank, Israel's propaganda machine, which has its tentacles in the world's largest media companies and the Pentagon, went to work on demonizing Sweden . . . Aftonbladet and Sweden were accused of being 'anti-Semitic,' a familiar mantra from the Israelis when their human rights policies are criticized. The Swedish government rejected a demand by Israeli expansionist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to condemn the Aftonbladet report on organ harvesting and trafficking by the Israelis . . . Israel turned up the heat on Sweden. Aftonbladet's editor Jan Helin was accused of being a 'Nazi.' Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was dis-invited from visiting Israel."The Zamir organ trafficking ring advertised kidneys for sale at $140,000. With the arrest of Zamir, the Aftonbladet report stands vindicated as the arrest proves a link between the IDF and Israeli organ harvesting of Palestinians. After the arrest of the initial six people, two others were arrested, including a resident of Herzliya, the headquarters of Mossad.