On Sunday, the PLO announced that Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat was moved to an Israeli hospital after last week testing positive for the coronavirus. WAFA noted that the move was due to chronic respiratory health issues he had been suffering, which requires special medical care.
Let’s hope that this good deed on the part of Israel won’t come back to haunt it, since on Monday morning Hadassah Medical Center announced that Erekat’s had deteriorated and is now critical due to respiratory distress. During the night Erekat was put on a ventilator and induced into a coma.
The hospital released a statement saying, “Erekat poses a huge challenge to the treatment of the corona, having undergone a lung transplant which involves the suppression of the immune system, and having sustained a bacterial infection in addition to the corona. Hadassah with its most senior professional doctors is conducting international medical contacts regarding the best treatment for such a complex patient.”
Erekat has had several major hospitalizations in the recent past: on May 8, 2012, he was admitted to a Ramallah hospital after suffering a heart attack; and in October 2017 he had a lung transplant at the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in northern Virginia.
On October 9, Erekat tested positive for COVID-19.
Meretz MK Yair Golan clashed on Monday morning with Likud MK Amit Halevi over the treatment of Erekat in Israel. In an interview with Reshet Bet, Golan said that “it is appropriate to show the quality of mercy and pity and treat Erekat. It only strengthens us and does not weaken us.”
MK Halevi replied that “Erekat has more than once fully and openly identified with Hamas, which calls for our destruction. If you, Yair Golan, see fit to revive the hand that holds the knife that’s pointed at you, you are not only stupid but also inhumane.”
Erekat has served as the Secretary-General of the Executive Committee of the PLO since 2015. He negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel and remained chief negotiator from 1995 until May 2003, when he resigned in protest from the PA government. He later reconciled with the Fatah party and was re-appointed to the post in September 2003.
Erekat was behind the 2002 blood libel that accused the IDF of committing a “massacre” and a “war crime” in Jenin that took the lives of more than 500 Arabs. In reality, only about 50 died in clashes with the IDF, most of them terrorist combatants.