Swedish newspaper prints second organ harvesting article


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Swedish newspaper has published a second article accusing the Israeli army of harvesting Palestinian organs.

A Palestinian family in the West Bank told the newspaper, Aftonbladet, in an article published Sunday that the body of their 19-year-old son, killed by Israeli soldiers in 1992, was returned to them wrapped in bandages and that they found a scar running from his neck to his stomach. The newspaper published a picture that the family said is their son’s body, showing the scar. The IDF told the family the scar was from an autopsy.

The article calls on Israel to investigate the issue to put a stop to the rumors or to the practice.

In an editorial published Monday, Aftonbladet Editor Jan Helin defended his decision to print the stories, saying that he is "a responsible editor who gave the green light to an article because it raises a few questions." He added that the newspaper had no actual evidence that the allegations against the Israel Defense Forces are true.

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis have signed on to a boycott of the Swedish retail outlet IKEA via an online petition. The petition calls the publication of the articles "anti-Semitic" and "a Medieval-type blood libel." There is an IKEA store in Netanya and a second outlet in Israel is set to open in 2010.

Citing freedom of the press, the Swedish Foreign Ministry disavowed a condemnation of the story last week by Sweden’s ambassafor to Israel. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have called on the Swedish government to condemn the article.

The controversy comes two weeks before Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, is scheduled to visit Israel. Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

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