AMMAN: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in West Jerusalem on Sunday after his COVID-19 infection suddenly worsened.
Erekat, 65, secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, is being treated in the coronavirus intensive care unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, where his condition was described as serious but stable.
“He arrived in serious condition and needed support and high doses of oxygen,” the hospital said.
Earlier, Erekat had been carried to the Israeli ambulance on a stretcher from his home in the Khadiwey neighborhood of Jericho in the occupied West Bank. He was accompanied to the hospital by his son Ali and daughters Dalal and Salam, who is a doctor.
“Thank God, my father’s health is stable. He needs special medical care for lung transplanted patients, thank you for your prayers, may God protect us all,” Dalal said later on Twitter.
Erekat had a lung transplant in a US hospital in 2017. Family and friends were worried about his low-level immunity because of the surgery. He tested positive for the coronavirus 10 days ago.
Arsen Ostrovsky, a lawyer and political analyst in Israel, accused Erekat of hypocrisy for being treated in an Israeli hospital while the Palestinian Authority prevented ordinary Palestinians from doing so.
Palestinian officials dismissed the criticism as offensive and unjustified. “International law including the Hague and Geneva conventions requires an occupying power to provide medical support to the population under its control,” one said.
Erekat has been one of the most high-profile faces of the Palestinian leadership for decades, especially to international audiences. He is one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s most senior advisers, and also held top positions under Yasser Arafat.