FDL, September 9, 2010
Sometimes, reading an article about war, I want to puke. Recovering from Max Blumenthal’s latest bombshell from Haifa, that was my first impulse. Eventually, though, I merely cried:
[Dr. Yehuda Hiss] also conceded to taking "samples" from Corrie’s body for "histological testing" without informing her family. Just which parts of Corrie’s body Hiss took remains unclear; despite Hiss’s claim that he "buried" the samples, her family has not confirmed the whereabouts of her missing body parts.
Dr.Hiss came to attention because of this:
The chief pathologist of Israel for a decade and a half, Hiss was implicated by a 2001 investigation by the Israeli Health Ministry of stealing body parts ranging from legs to testicles to ovaries from bodies without permission from family members then selling them to research institutes. Bodies plundered by Hiss included those of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He was finally removed from his post in 2004 when the body of a teenage boy killed in a traffic accident was discovered to have been thoroughly gnawed on by a rat in Hiss’s laboratory. In an interview with researcher Nancy Schepper-Hughes, Hiss admitted that he harvested organs if he was confident relatives would not discover that they were missing. He added that he often used glue to close eyelids to hide missing corneas.
While Dr. Hiss’ testimony was part of the opening, back in March of the civil suit by the Corrie family against the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry, no writer wrote back then so compellingly as Blumenthal has now done, in his article posted today on the testimony and depositions given Sunday and Monday in the opening portion of the second half of the trail.
Also catching us up on details of this week’s proceedings is Nora Barrows-Friedman, writing for Al Jazeera. In her article, Barrows-Friedman writes about the statement of Col. "Yossi" from the IDF, about whom I wrote on Tuesday:
"During war there are no civilians," that’s what "Yossi," an Israeli military (IDF) training unit leader simply stated during a round of questioning on day two of the Rachel Corrie trials, held in Haifa’s District Court earlier this week. "When you write a [protocol] manual, that manual is for war," he added.
For the human rights activists and friends and family of Rachel Corrie sitting in the courtroom, this open admission of an Israeli policy of indiscrimination towards civilians — Palestinian or foreign — created an audible gasp.
Yet, put into context, this policy comes as no surprise. The Israeli military’s track record of insouciance towards the killings of Palestinians, from the 1948 massacre of Deir Yassin in Jerusalem to the 2008-2009 attacks on Gaza that killed upwards of 1400 men, women and children, has illustrated that not only is this an entrenched operational framework but rarely has it been challenged until recently.
The blog Mondoweiss has reprinted Max Blumenthal’s article in entirety. They often partner with Max. Earlier in the week, there were a few articles at that Israel/Palestine-centric blog about whether or not the four civilians recently gunned down near Hebron on illegally seized land on the West Bank, were legitimate targets. The consensus there was that the militant settlers were not "legitimate targets." Commenting there, I sided with that view, but observed that Col "Yossi’s" testimony at the Corrie suit hearing this week, weakens the argument of those who condemn the recent settler shootings unequivocally. If all of Gaza, or large parts of Gaza are war zones in which there are no civilians, how does that differ conceptually from lands on the West Bank, illegally wrested from the rightful Palestinian owners by armed Israeli thugs?
In the midst of these moral dilemmas, what does one do? Blumenthal relates, in today’s article, the common sense of Craig Corrie:
Among the most disturbing aspects of Corrie’s case is the abuse of her body by Israeli authorities after she was killed. Craig Corrie recalled to me a panicked phone conversation he had with Will Hewitt, a friend and former classmate of Rachel Corrie who had just witnessed her killing.
"It’s getting dark over here and there are no refrigeration units for her body in Gaza," Hewitt told Craig Corrie.
"Just leave it until tomorrow," Craig replied. "We don’t want you or anyone else to get killed."
"But her body is starting to smell," Hewitt pleaded.
Another family exhibiting common sense, even in the weird environment of what is done with these poor bodies of Israelis, Palestinians and Americans killed in such senseless violence, is the Salhout family in East Jerusalem, as told in this story:
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – On 27 August, a Palestinian four-year-old, Abdul-Hayy Salhout, fell from a balcony at his family’s home in the Jabal Al-Mukabbir village in occupied East Jerusalem.
Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center spent eight hours trying to revive the toddler in the intensive care unit, where he died six days later. Abdul-Hayy’s parents decided at the time to donate his organs.
According to the Israeli news site Ynet, the boy’s liver has since been successfully transplanted to a critically ill seven-year-old Israeli boy. A kidney was given to an eight-year-old girl, also Israeli, whose body has accepted it. The other kidney went to a 55-year-old Israeli man, and he is in good condition too despite concerns of rejection due to the age difference.
"My son arrived at the hospital in very serious condition, and it was impossible to save his life. But we’re so happy to see him alive inside other people," Abdul-Hayy’s father told Ynet. "It makes no difference to us whether the recipients speak Arabic or Hebrew, because saving a human life is the same."