JERUSALEM – Palestinian businessman Saeb Erekat was taken by ambulance to an Israeli hospital on Sunday for the treatment of a worsening Covid-19 case, the Palestine Liberation Organization said.
Witnesses said Erekat, 65, was on a stretcher when he was placed in an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, on the occupied West Bank.
“Following his shrinkage of Covid-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr. Erekat’s condition requires medical attention in a hospital,” the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department said. in a statement.
Erekat, who is also the secretary-general of the PLO, will be treated at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem, the PLO spokesperson confirmed to NBC News.
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Erekat, who revealed he contracted a coronavirus on October 8., underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017, so concerns about his vulnerability to the disease intensified.
A member of Fatah, the most powerful group within the PLO, he has been one of the most high-profile faces of Palestinian leadership for decades and rubbed shoulders on countless Presidents and world leaders.
The professor of political science, who speaks English, also authored a dozen books.
Unlike others he did not completely reject the peace process in Israel and instead advocated for a two-state solution based on the 1967 border and remains one of the oldest advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
His days of negotiations began with the earliest public negotiations with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference during the presidency of George HW Bush, when Erekat was part of the PLO team.
The news about Saeb’s hospital came when Israel began to loosen restrictions and open up from a second lockdown imposed last month at the start of the High Holy Day period.
Reuters contributed to this report.