The Ministry of Health and the National Transplant Center made clear on Tuesday that senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official Saeb Erekat will only be permitted to undergo a lung transplant in Israel under very rare circumstances.
The Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported earlier that Erekat, who serves as the PA chief negotiator, is suffering from a serious lung disease and has recently taken a turn for the worse, but is hoping that a lung transplant from Israel could save his life.
"Only patients who are residents of the State of Israel can be registered in the national waiting list for transplants," the Ministry of Health and the National Transplant Center said Tuesday evening in a statement on the Facebook page of the ADI Donor Card, which testifies to the desire of the card-holder to donate his organs after his death.
“The order of priorities for transplants is determined according to medical criteria only, without exceptions, according to the principle that only a resident of Israel who needs the transplant will receive the donation,” the statement added.
"In cases where no Israeli patient is found to receive the organ, it is possible to transplant the donated organ to a non-resident of Israel, subject to the consent of the donor's family, in coordination with the transplant center. Such cases are extremely rare.”
"The Ministry of Health has been asked to make an exception and include Mr. Saeb Erekat in the waiting list. For legal reasons, the Ministry of Health cannot grant this exceptional request, due to a commitment to preserve the purity of the procedures for allocating organs. Mr. Erekat will only be able to receive an organ donation using the procedure relating to non-residents of Israel, as noted above," the statement concluded.
That Erekat is hoping to receive a lung in Israel for transplant is an ironic turn of events for a man who for decades accused Israel of persecution against Arabs and even genocide.
Prior to the diagnosis of his condition, Erekat often represented the PA on Western news media outlets, attacking Israel and accusing the Jewish state of genocide, massacres, and war crimes.
In 2014, Erekat defended the use of the term “genocide” to describe Israel’s struggle against the Hamas terror organization in Gaza following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, and a wave of deadly rocket attacks on Israeli towns.
In 2013, Erekat accused Israel of applying a policy of apartheid in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.