Top PLO official Erekat, stricken by COVID-19, taken to hospital

Elias Hubbard
October 18, 2020

The senior Palestinian diplomat was one of the principle architects of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and remained chief Palestinian negotiator until his resignation in 2003.

Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), disclosed on October 8 he had fallen ill with COVID-19. 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.

A senior source in Ramallah who is close to Erekat said last week that the PA was investigating when Erekat had been infected and from whom, and if he had recently been in the vicinity of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"Because of the chronic health problems in Erekat's respiratory system, he is being transferred to a hospital in the 1948 areas [Israel], because his condition requires special medical attention and supervision", the PLO Negotiation Affairs department.

"His situation is not good", Saber Erekat told AFP, adding that his brother was being taken to the Rabin Medical Centre in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, outside Tel Aviv.

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 worldwide audiences.

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 has consistently voiced support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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