Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the top negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, is in critical condition Monday, according to officials at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem, where Erekat is being treated for a coronavirus infection.
In a statement released Monday morning, hospital officials said Erekat’s condition deteriorated Monday morning, worsening from serious but stable condition to critical condition.
“Mr. Erekat had a quiet night, but this morning his condition deteriorated, and now he is listed in critical condition, and due to his difficulty breathing he is on a respirator and has been anesthetized.”
PLO official Saeb Erekat condition has deteriorated, and now defined as critical and due to respiratory distress he was resuscitated and put has been anesthetized – Hadassah Jerusalem hospital spokeswoman
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 19, 2020
“Mr. Erekat presents a major challenge for treating the coronavirus, because he is a recipient of a lung transplant and his immune system is very weak, and is suffering from a bacterial infection in addition to the coronavirus.”
“Hadassah Hospital and its most senior doctors are in contact with doctors from around the world regarding the treatment protocols for a patient with such a complex case.”
On Sunday, Erekat was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem from the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho, following a deterioration in his condition.
After his arrival, hospital officials reported that Erekat was in serious but stable condition.
“Following his contraction of COVID-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr Erekat’s condition now requires medical attention in a hospital,” the hospital said in a statement Sunday evening.
“He arrived in serious condition and needed support and high doses of oxygen.”
“Mr. Erekat is receiving the highest level of treatment, like all other serious coronavirus patients at Hadassah, and the team is doing everything it can for his health,” said Hadassah director-general Prof. Zev Rothstein. “At Hadassah, we treat every patient as if he or she were our only patient.”
Erekat is in a high risk group after having previously contracted pulmonary fibrosis and even underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.
A frequent critic of Israel, Erekat has in the past accused Israel of “war crimes”, “massacres”, and “genocide”.
In 2013, Erekat accused Israel of applying a policy of apartheid in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
Despite his accusations of Israeli “genocide”, this is not the first time the senior PA official has sought treatment at an Israeli hospital.
The 65-year-old has for decades been one of the most prominent members of the Palestinian Authority, serving as a leading negotiator. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in which Erekat serves as secretary general, reported on October 8 that he tested positive for Covid-19. The diplomat remained quarantined at home until his condition worsened at the weekend.
In 2017, Erekat was spotted at Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Medical Center.
Header: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at the J Street National Conference, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)