UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday rejected Palestinian allegations that Israel had recently harvested organs from Palestinians its forces had killed, condemning the charges as anti-Semitic.
In a letter to British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, president of the U.N. Security Council this month, the chief Palestinian delegate at the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, described what he said was the alleged harvesting of body parts of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.
"After returning the seized bodies of Palestinians killed by the occupying forces through October, and following medical examinations, it has been reported that the bodies were returned with missing corneas and other organs," Mansour wrote Rycroft on Tuesday.
He added that this was confirmation of "past reports about organ harvesting."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon responded on Wednesday with a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding that the U.N. chief condemn what he described as Mansour's open anti-Semitism.
"This blood libel by the Palestinian representative exposes his anti-Semitic motives and his true colors," Danon said in the letter, according to a statement from the Israeli mission.
"Anti-Semitism has no place in the halls of the United Nations and must be denounced," he added. "I call on you to repudiate this sinister accusation and to condemn the ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders."
The focus of Mansour's Nov. 3 letter to Rycroft was the recent violence in Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.
Eleven Israelis have been killed in stabbings, shootings or other attacks. At least 68 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces, including 41 who Israel says were attackers. Many were teenagers.
Mansour wrote that "far from de-escalating, the situation remains precarious due to Israel's insistence on the use of violent force and oppressive measures."
Israel has accused Palestinian officials of inciting the violence by spreading what it says are false allegations.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by James Dalgleish)