Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat remained in critical but stable condition in an Israeli hospital Tuesday, his family said, after he was infected with the coronavirus.
Erekat’s family told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA that he was receiving artificial respiration in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Ein Karem Medical Center in Jerusalem.
A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile members of the Palestinian leadership for decades, and especially familiar to international audiences having acted as de facto spokesperson for the PA.
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.
He was hospitalized Sunday at the Jerusalem hospital despite the Palestinian leadership’s decision earlier this year to sever security and civil ties with Israel over plans to begin annexing parts of the West Bank as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan.
The hospital said Monday that Erekat’s case was extremely challenging in light of his history of health problems, including a lung transplant in 2017. It said he suffered from a weak immune system, and a bacterial infection in addition to COVID-19.