Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
Photo: AP
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Senior PLO official Erekat taken to Israeli hospital for coronavirus

Chief Palestinian negotiator and longtime diplomat, who fell ill on earlier in October, is en route to Jerusalem for treatment after his condition worsens; concerns over his vulnerability due to a lung transplant in 2017

Reuters |
Published: 10.18.20 , 17:15
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.
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  • Witnesses said Erekat, 65, was on a stretcher when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, in the West Bank. Erekat, who is also secretary-general of the PLO, disclosed on Oct. 8 that he had contracted coronavirus.
    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat
    (Photo: AP)
    There is heightened concern over Erekat's vulnerability to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.
    He was rushed to Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center.
    "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.
    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.
    Saeb Erekat and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Saeb Erekat and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
    Saeb Erekat and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: AP)
    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.
    His negotiating days date back to the earliest public negotiations with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, when Erekat was part of the PLO team.
    A proponent of a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Erekat has been a leading Palestinian voice in opposing Israel's settlement policy in territory it captured in the 1967 Six-Day war.
    Last week, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi also tested positive for the coronavirus.

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