Sunday, February 13
Maybe the Iranians Are attacking the non-governmental Mercy Ships that go around the world offering medical aid to the world's poorest. Or perhaps, perhaps the US is running something aboard the Comfort or Mercy.
Arutz Sheva - Israel National News
An Israeli boat patrolling near Iran is holding kidnapped babies to be used later for their organs, according to a new Iranian television program.
"We are talking about children no one cares about that have been kidnapped on the excuse of being concerned for them and after they mature, the Zionists uses their hearts, kidneys and other organs," the TV program charges.
The propaganda claims, "A white boat sails on the oceans and does not enter Iran's territorial waters or those of other countries. Our Arab brethren should be careful of this boat where the Zionists hold children from the age of one and two. They receive the best medical treatment and are [placed] under constant surveillance. Why are they being cared for? [the objective is to] use them for medical objectives."
Romanian authorities are looking into possible links between Israeli adoption agencies and an illegal global conspiracy to sell organs for transplants.
The Romanian Embassy in Israel has asked for, and received from the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, a list of all children born in Romania who have been brought to Israel for adoption in recent years. The Romanian officials are trying to ascertain if all such children arrived in Israel with all organs in their bodies.
In its request to the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, the Romanians did not offer evidence in support of suspicions of a link between adoption and organ trafficking. The inquiry is part of a broader investigation involving Romanian children sent to Italy and the United States.
As Ha'aretz has reported in the past, some Israeli physicians were involved in illegal kidney transplants and the sale of human eggs in Turkey, Romania, and other countries in East Europe.
New York Times:
To those who monitor organ trafficking, it was no surprise that Israel should emerge as the focal point of a syndicate. Organ donation rates in Israel are among the lowest in the developed world, about one-third the rate in Western Europe, in large part because of what Health Ministry officials and doctors describe as a widespread impression that Jewish religious law prohibits transplants as a "desecration of the body."
In reality, religious law is far more nuanced. But influential Orthodox rabbis have been reluctant to make public statements that would encourage either live donors or the harvesting of organs from the deceased.
Israelis needing transplants have suffered as a result. More than 1,000 people in a nation of about 6 million are on Israel's waiting list for organs, more than half of them for kidneys. The list grows by more than 20 percent each year, health officials say. In an average year, more than 80 people die waiting, proportionally a slightly higher rate than in the United States.
To meet Israeli's growing demand for organs, middlemen calling themselves brokers, from prominent doctors to a former spokesman for a health maintenance organization, have rushed into the market to set prices for a scarce product that can reach $150,000 for a kidney. Some advertise openly in Israeli newspapers and on radio stations, soliciting recipients and donors.
"As of today, there is no law in Israel that forbids trafficking in human organs," Meir Broder, a legal adviser to the Health Ministry, explained in an interview in Jerusalem. "There is no criminal aspect at all."
A bill drafted by the Health Ministry that would make trafficking illegal and forbid organ donations for money awaits action in the Parliament. But medical specialists say it faces strong opposition and may not pass.
For now, allowing the brokers to operate with few restrictions in effect benefits the state by exporting Israel's organ shortage overseas. The patients who do go abroad "save the country a lot of money," explained Dr. Michael Friedlaender, a kidney specialist at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, "not only in terms of what doesn't have to be spent on dialysis, but also by opening places for other people who are on the list."
For operations in Israel, the Ministry of Health relies on elaborate procedures to ensure that donors and recipients act for "altruistic" motives and do not exchange money. But another ministry directive also allows Israelis who go abroad for transplants to be reimbursed as much as $80,000.
Much of the remaining costs can often be obtained from insurance plans, though Israeli health maintenance organizations are supposed to ask for proof when donors and recipients say they are related in "voluntary" operations.
Israeli doctors say those requirements are often ignored, and the government says it has no obligation to monitor operations done abroad. "In the end, a country can only be responsible for what happens within its own borders," said Mr. Broder, the Ministry of Health lawyer.
In the mid-1990's, many of the Israeli organ brokers took their patients to Turkey, flying in teams of Israeli surgeons and relying on donors from Moldova, Romania and Russia. But after some patients died and Dr. Scheper-Hughes of Organs Watch and the Turkish and European news media raised ethical questions, the brokers were forced to search for new locations.