After attacking the Jewish state for decades, Erekat is now asking Israel to save his life.
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and vociferous critic of Israel, is suffering from severe pulmonary disease and seeking life-saving treatment in Israel.
Israel’s Ynet News reported on Tuesday that 62-year-old Erekat was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis more than a year ago and is currently on a waiting list for a lung transplant both in Israel and the US.
Erekat has been receiving additional treatment at a hospital in central Israel, but doctors have warned that his condition cannot improve without an immediate transplant, the report said.
Should his health further deteriorate, Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator with Israel for the past two decades and secretary-general of the PLO’s executive committee, will be replaced by Palestinian Authority (PA) General Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj.
Palestinian officials were evasive on Tuesday regarding the reports. The PLO has not issued any official statements on Erekat’s health or eventual replacement.
Xavier Abu Eid, Erekat’s spokesman, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Tuesday by telephone that he “can’t confirm” that Faraj would replace Erekat.
Abu Eid denied that Erekat had stepped down from his role, telling Ma’an that the senior Palestinian official was in the office on Tuesday.
The reports came days after Israeli media reported on the deteriorating health of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who was admitted to the hospital over the weekend. According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas was discharged from hospital after undergoing “routine medical checks.”
Erekat’s addition to Israel’s waiting list for a lung transplant caused a public outcry, prompting the Ministry of Health to issue a statement saying the Palestinian official will be eligible for a transplant only under rare circumstances.