UNITED NATIONS - Palestine has accused Israel of harvesting the organs of Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied territories, saying it people were being subjected to “persistent aggression.”

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour Riyad Mansour said that the bodies of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are “returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power.”

He protested Israel’s “persistent aggression against the Palestinian people” over the past month of unrest and its “insistence on use of violent force and oppressive measures.”

“A medical examination conducted on bodies of Palestinians returned after they were killed by the occupying power found that they were missing organs,” Mansour wrote in the letter.

In response Israeli envoy Danny Danon called the organ harvesting accusation a “blood libel”, and said the accusation had shown the Palestinian ambassador’s true “anti-Semitic face.”

The issue of organ theft by Israel was first brought to the fore in a report published by Sweden’s most highly-circulated daily Aftonbladet in 2009.US daily The New York Times also said in an August 2014 report that transplant brokers in Israel have pocketed enormous sums of money.

Based on the Times analysis of major organ trafficking cases since 2000, Israelis have played a ‘disproportionate role’ in organ trafficking.

The Palestinians whom Ambassador Mansour was referring to were killed amid tensions in the occupied territories, which have dramatically escalated in recent weeks.

The Isreal’s imposition of restrictions in August on the entry of Palestinian worshipers to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) has become the lightning rod for the surge of recent confrontations.

According to the latest figures by the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 74 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October. At least 11 Israelis have also been killed during that period.

The bodies of the Palestinian victims are most often held in Israeli custody for long periods of time before they are returned to relatives.