Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh justified allegations against Israel saying the IDF was harvesting organs from the bodies of slain Palestinians.
Speaking at a conference calling on Israel to return bodies of Palestinians buried throughout the country, held in Nablus Tuesday, Barakeh said, "We have the right to question the reasons why Israel is keeping the bodies of martyrs and what secret they seek to preserve."
"Is it that the bodies were mutilated? My answer is yes until proven otherwise. Is it that their bodies have been stolen? My answer is yes, until proven otherwise," he said.
The Knesset member was referring to reports by a Swedish tabloid saying the IDF had harvested organs from Palestinians. Israel demanded that Sweden condemn the report but its government refused to do so.
After the conference Barakeh told Ynet, "Israel has maintained its reputation and alerted the entire world to the Swedish article. They claim that what was published there could not be true."
He added, "Seeing as there is no worse way to punish a man and his family than with his death, the question is why Israel continues to hold the bodies. The burden of proof falls on Israel, and as long as it refuses to say what the status of the bodies is or return them, it is hiding something awful."
The MK said he wanted to know why Israel was holding bodies in gravesites marked by numbers. "If giving numbers to living people is a horrible thing, then what about giving numbers to dead people? This country must be out of its senses," he said.
"I heard what they said of Hezbollah, and with reason, in connection with the Israeli soldiers' bodies. There are other families here who want to bury their loved ones."
The Hadash chairman also linked kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit to the issue of the Palestinians' bodies. "Israel is demanding details on Gilad Shalit, and with reason; the family must be given information. But I ask why for a number of years there has been total silence regarding a few dozen missing Palestinians," he said.
A Palestinian minister also took an accusatory tone, demanding that Israel return the bodies of Palestinians killed while committing acts of terror.
"The world must be careful regarding what Israel does," said Aissa Kraka. "It is hiding the bodies of martyrs in order to distort evidence of its crimes, including organs trafficking."
Hundreds of Palestinians attended the conference marking the "national day for the return of the bodies of martyrs". Palestinian organizations say Israel is holding 275 bodies and refusing to return them to their families.
Last week the Palestinian Authority announced it would establish a committee to investigate the organs trafficking claim made by the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. The committee, which includes a number of top ministers, said it would consider appealing to international legal authorities.