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Top PLO official Erekat, sick with COVID, said set to be hospitalized in Israel

  • October 18, 2020

Senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official Saeb Erekat, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, is reportedly being taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem after a deterioration in his condition.

Magen David Adom paramedics, escorted by IDF soldiers, arrived at Erekat’s West Bank home on Sunday afternoon to move him to the hospital, according to Channel 12 news.

Hebrew media reports said the Palestinian Authority had requested from Israel that Erekat receive immediate medical care, a move approved by Jerusalem.

Erekat, 65, had been in isolation in his house in the West Bank city of Jericho since his diagnosis earlier this month. He had initially only been experiencing light coronavirus symptoms, including a fever.

Erekat is considered to be at high risk for complications from the virus. He survived both a mild heart attack in 2012 and a 2017 lung transplant after years of suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that scars the lungs and damages their ability to circulate oxygen.

One of the architects of the Oslo peace accords, Erekat has been the PLO’s chief negotiator since 1995. Erekat has led numerous rounds of peace talks with Israel for over two decades and continues to play a central role in Palestinian politics.

Erekat’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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