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Erekat Taken to Israeli Hospital after COVID-19 Condition Deteriorates

Erekat Taken to Israeli Hospital after COVID-19 Condition Deteriorates

Sunday, 18 October, 2020 - 14:00
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat. AFP file photo

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Israel on Sunday for treatment of a worsening case of COVID-19, the Palestine Liberation Organization said.


Witnesses said Erekat, 65, was on a stretcher when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, in the occupied West Bank.


Erekat, who is also secretary-general of the PLO, disclosed on Oct. 8 that he had contracted the coronavirus.


There is heightened concern over Erekat's vulnerability to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.


"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 PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department said in a statement.


It said he would be treated at a hospital in Tel Aviv, without identifying the facility.


But people familiar with the Palestinian official’s condition said on condition of anonymity that he requested and received authorization to be hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital.


Erekat made the request despite the fact the Palestinian Authority severed ties with Israel earlier this year over the Trump administration’s Mideast plan.


A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile faces of the Palestinian leadership for decades, especially to international audiences.


Erekat is also one of the most senior advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and also served in top positions under Abbas' predecessor, Yasser Arafat.


There have been over 58,000 cases and 474 deaths reported in the Palestinian-administered areas of the Israeli occupied West Bank.


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